Amanda Schull stars opposite Brennan Elliott in Hallmark Channel’s Marry Go Round.
She stars as Abby Foster, a woman planning her wedding to a lovely man who gets unexpected news — her short marriage to her high school sweetheart, Luke, has never been appropriately terminated.
We chatted with Amanda about the movie, working with Brennan Elliott, enjoying time with family, and much more.
Abby Foster is kind of like a character in the most enviable unenviable position ever.
That’s an interesting way to put it.
How would you describe where she finds herself?
Well, she finds herself back where she was 20 years ago, which is the last place she expected to be, I guess.
She thought that her life was all mapped out and that things were planned, and life threw a major curve ball.
I haven’t seen the final product, but I guess you could say within the first 20 minutes or so, Abby’s back where she was 20 years ago, and she has a fork in the road, and she needs to go one way or another.
Revisiting lost loves always plays really well for the audience, but very rarely does it happen when the character is already in love with somebody else, and that person isn’t dying or something. She has a real conundrum.
Right? There’s nothing wrong with him, either. There is nothing wrong with Edward. When I was reading the script, I kept waiting for Edward’s skeletons to come out of the closet.
I kept waiting to figure out what it was that was going to make this an easy choice and how we were going to know from the audience’s perspective why she makes the choice she makes. And I guess it was like real life. There was nothing wrong with him. It just wasn’t right.
It’s a new kind of avenue that Hallmark is exploring, really breaking away from the scripts that we could all see coming.
Do you know what I mean? I think this is a real, delightful change because this is what people really do find themselves facing.
Yes, and also having to reconcile a secret that’s revealed that really changed the course of her entire life. Her mom doing that dictated who she became, and for better or worse, she would’ve been a very different person had she not woken up one morning and found that the love of her life, her soulmate, had up and left.
But then you could also wonder if those things hadn’t happened when they were so young, would it have stuck like they believed it would have? All those things that can play in your head are circling around the back of the story.
And young love is so idyllic in so many ways, and it’s so easy to romanticize the emotions that you had that are so strong when you’re young. And I don’t know, would it have worked? I don’t know. They believe it would have, and then when they get this second chance to relive that young love, it certainly seems like it would have lasted.
Yeah. What’s funny is, last year, I actually had that chance to revisit my first love.
And just out of the blue, he sent me an email. And so we gave it a go and ultimately decided we had just changed too much, but it didn’t end on a bad note or anything. It’s just, obviously, we’re not the same people we were.
But how lovely that you got the chance to know.
I bet a lot of people would like the opportunity to just know, and be able to put that away, and resolve it, and say the things that they wanted to say, and hear the things that they needed to hear, and it’s over and done, and they can pack it up and say goodbye to it comfortably and confidently.
Yes. You were just mentioning whether or not Abby and Luke would have survived and how you fantasize about that idyllic love that you had. As somebody who just went through it, I did that. For my whole life, I thought, why did I let him get away? That was the one.
Right. Right, right, right.
And what we had then still was, but then life pulls you in completely different directions, and it’s just not the same. And we weren’t able to live up to the fantasy that I had in my head or my recollection of how it really was.
No, of course not. Who’s ever going to live up to that fantasy from however many years, decades, whatever? No one’s ever going to because you’re going see it through a much more educated, jaded, worldly, wise perspective.
Sure. Yep. Well, I’ll tell you who lived up to it. Luke. Luke Walker lived up to it.
[laughs] Good old Luke Walker.
And he made just things harder for Abby. If he had just fallen by the wayside, like other people do whenever they’re not in your line of sight anymore, she would have lived happily ever after with Edward.
If he had just become an ugly schmuck, you know?
Just a jerk. But he didn’t.
Brennan Elliott mentioned on social media that the Marry Go Round shoot was emotionally challenging. Did you find it to be that way as well?
Yes and no. I sort of love emotionally challenging. So for me, with 12 Monkeys, that was my day-to-day. And I think it’s different for men than it is for women. Even rom-coms can be emotionally challenging for the woman.
Often they’re written for the woman to have an emotional realization and a pivotal emotional reaction. And then, for the man, it isn’t always that way. And in this movie, in particular, it was for him, and it was written in the script, and then [Brennan] chose to take it and elevate it.
He chose to make it real, and he chose to be vulnerable. He chose to be beautifully open. And so it could have been ordinary, and he chose to make it extraordinary. And I think that’s why it was an emotional thing for him because he could have phoned it in, and he didn’t.
Sure. There are some scenes between the two of you where you can see he’s matching you beat for beat, and with tears in his eyes, and just some of his best work, I think, is in this movie with you.
That’s really lovely. I’m very happy to hear that. Thank you for telling me that.
And it elevates the whole story between the characters too. And you can watch Abby and Edward, and they have a much different emotional attachment than what Abby and Luke have.
Yes. And that was important. We wanted to make sure that there was a difference with her physically, emotionally — all the things — with the two guys.
Because she could have lived her life with Edward, and it would have been fine. It would have been just fine, but we needed to know why it was going to be right with Luke.
And all three of you, too, did really well in the scene where it all kind of comes together, and everybody’s in the know. That was a rough scene, but it was very cool.
Yes. It was a beautiful location, though. I can tell you that. That was just a gorgeous barn, and the set dec department just… I mean, that was just stunning. Yeah, that was awkward. It was so awkward.
Yeah, really awkward.
And how good and beautiful is Zak [Santiago], too? A lot of people couldn’t hear the audio, they were just watching the monitor, and they were feeling so horribly for him. They were coming up, and they were saying, “I don’t know what’s being said, but I just feel awful for Edward.”
But what’s great about his character is that he isn’t a guy who’s going to force an issue when he sees that the woman he loves is in a tough place and making a choice.
No. And he’s a good guy, but also, at the same time, he has pride. He sees. He’s not an idiot.
Well, whenever you see a movie where somebody practically tosses themselves onto the track, trying to get someone to change their mind for love, it’s so hard watching somebody lose their dignity when they know the game has already been lost.
Yeah. And that’s kind of a beautiful way to put it here.
And none of that happens here with any of them, and it really could have.
Yes, it definitely could have.
And I’m glad you mentioned the sets, too. The whole thing was beautiful. That’s another thing they’ve really upped their game on recently.
They did a great job. And how gorgeous was the carousel?
Oh, yes. Really beautiful. And were you actually filming at a real theme park?
It was a real theme park, but the carousel wasn’t in the theme park.
Right. And I saw that. You could tell that it had been manipulated in the screener that I had, but it worked really well.
The carousel is basically in a museum; it’s this historic little town that they’ve preserved, and it’s in there. And it was maybe from the 1910s or 1920s or something. Each horse on that carousel is, I don’t know how many thousands of dollars. They were exquisite
Where is that?
In Vancouver. And then the theme park was a teeny little theme park that was just fantastic, that we had to ourselves for half the day, and then suddenly the gates opened, and it was summertime at a theme park. And so they inserted that [carousel] with green screen magic.
It works really well, though, and I especially liked that your character’s actually walking through a theme park down her way to the carousel, even though the carousel isn’t there. That’s not the point, but it’s rare to see an actual theme park in a movie. They’re usually little bits and pieces.
Yeah. They did a good job taking the connective tissue and bringing it all together.
They really did. I’ve been very impressed with Hallmark of late. The last year has been pretty impressive.
I was impressed with the locations and everything that they did, but as I said, I haven’t been able to see the final product, so I look forward to seeing it from your perspective.
I think you’ll be really pleased.
Well, good. Thank you for that.
You and Brennan really clicked on screen. What’s he like as a scene partner? What was it like working together?
Brennan is as lovely as you want Brennan to be. I mean, he’s exactly what you see. He is giving and considerate and thoughtful, and prepared. Some of the work isn’t easy; it’s emotionally challenging, but he makes it so enjoyable.
Hallmark has such a lush group of talent associated with them, of course, of which you are part. Who else might you like to work with in the future?
Oh, gosh. Well, I didn’t even know that I wanted to work with Brennan, and now I want to work with him again. I haven’t had a bad experience with them, so I look forward to my next opportunity. I can’t think of a single bad day on the set of a Hallmark movie.
That’s what everybody says. It’s pretty impressive.
It is very impressive. I think part of it is that they’re very short, three-week shoots, and everyone who’s involved knows their role, shows up, and does their job because of the short amount of time that you have to do it, and they love what they’re doing. Everyone is happy, and so everyone really delivers.
And are these shoots working for you now, especially now that you’re a mom?
Are they working for me?
Yeah. You did series for a really long time, and I’m sure you probably want to get back to them at some point, but if you have a toddler, then you don’t want to lose that precious time.
But you can still work and put out a nice product and have yourself out there and experiencing things, but you don’t have to be away from the child for very long. That seems ideal.
What also was ideal about this one was it just happened to shoot during his spring break, on his late spring break. And so he and my husband came up for the first ten days of it, and the merry-go-round day was the last day that they were in town, and Paterson got to go to set.
It was the first and only time he ever has been to set, and they let him ride the carousel. It was so sweet and so emotional for me. The crew went above and beyond, making his first set visit so special. And then, of course, Mommy works on a carousel every day, so I got some serious cachet for that.
That’s going to be such a great memory, too, as he grows up.
Yeah. It was very special. It was very, very special.
Are there more movies in your future, and will you be looking for another series to do, as well?
I would love to because the beauty of a series is that you also have a schedule, and you know when you’re working and when you’re not working. I mean, to a certain degree. So that’s something that isn’t as up in the air. I know I’m going to be working until this month, and then I have that month off, or whatever it is. I love that.
I also love the opportunity to work on one character and create an arc or a storyline, get into it over the course of several episodes, weeks, and months. And that’s always exciting to me.
But as far as these Hallmark movies have gone, they have just been the perfect thing at the perfect time, that have just really filled me emotionally and been very special. We’ve gotten to go to a few different lovely places. My husband has traveled with me, with our son, so that we can stay together, all of us.
Oh, that’s nice.
We have been able to have these beautiful little, not family vacations, but these little vignettes of time.
We look back on them very fondly, even when we did the Christmas movie in 2020, and we had to quarantine for two weeks in Winnipeg, we still look back on that and just think it was actually really beautiful quarantining all together in a house.
And my dogs were still alive then, and it was just this little time capsule where we were all able to just not need to be anywhere. You couldn’t. And I had a job that I was excited about, and my son was just a seven-month-old little potato who was able to share the experience with us.
Marry Go Round premieres on Hallmark Channel on Saturday, September 10 at 8/7c.
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.