Elizabeth Hurley on Reuniting With Kelsey Grammer in Christmas in Paradise
Jan 4, 2023
The Christmas Family is back just in time for, well, Christmas season. The stars of Father Christmas is Back—Kelsey Grammer, Elizabeth Hurley, Nathalie Cox, Naomi Frederick—return for another family reunion and plenty of confusion in Christmas in Paradise. Last year, audiences found the fiery clan reuniting for the Christmas Holiday in a Yorkshire mansion. This year, it’s the sunny Caribbean.
Along for the ride this time is Billy Ray Cyrus, playing Jimmy, the famous pal of James Christmas (Grammer). What brings the Christmases to the Caribbean? Well, Joanna (Hurley) didn’t even have it on her radar. She planned for a cozy holiday season. That changes when her sisters (Cox and Frederick) inform her that their father has been dumped by his fiancée and isn’t responding to any calls. Seems he’s disappeared to a tiny Caribbean island. Off the sisters go to “save” their father and bring him home. Big surprise: James is having a ball, hanging out at bars, and playing music with Jimmy. He’s even doing—what’s this?—beach yoga?
MOVIEWEB VIDEO OF THE DAY
The Christmas sisters’ arrival is bound to thwart daddy’s Zen vibe, and some surprising revelations happen along the way. Hurley spoke to MovieWeb about the sequel, working alongside Grammer, and how her career is suddenly blossoming again.
The Gift of Kelsey Grammer
MovieWeb: What did you find most inspiring about this sequel?
Elizabeth Hurley: Well, I must confess there are two elements. The first of course, was reuniting with Kelsey Grammer. And the opportunity to work with Billy Ray, whom I’ve long been a fan of—my son was the age where he used to watch Hannah Montana all the time, so of course, I used to watch it with him. I knew Billy Ray really well from that, and of course, some of his music. That was a big plus. But I have to say, what I loved was filming in the Caribbean. And don’t hate me, but I’m back here right now. I’m doing another movie. But Christmas in Paradise was a fun script. The cast was just fantastic. And I couldn’t really fault the location.
MW: Tell us more about the movie you’re working on now?
Elizabeth Hurley: It’s a very exciting project for me. I’m producing and starring in a movie called Strictly Confidential. It’s my son’s first movie as a director, so it’s hard work on every level. We’re still in pre-production and don’t start for another couple of weeks. I haven’t produced since the 1990s, so, it’s all coming back. But it’s hard work out here doing this yet rewarding at the same time.
MW: It’s great the Christmas family is back, so I’m wondering what do you find most interesting about working with Kelsey Grammer? What does he bring to the creative table?
Elizabeth Hurley: Well, Kelsey is quite an extraordinary man. We all know him as a supremely gifted comedian. That’s indisputable. We’ve all loved him for a million years, being so funny on television. But what’s interesting about Kelsey is that he’s a really emotional, dramatic actor, as well—I hadn’t experienced much of that prior to working with him. But we always laugh and tease him because basically, there’s hardly a scene that goes by without Kelsey welling up, and almost crying. His emotions are literally just there, beneath the surface at any moment. In this movie, as well as being a comedy, there’s a real punch. There’s an emotional heart because of various things that Kelsey’s character is going through. It’s really about how his ‘evil’ daughters, of which I’m one, deal with that. Overall, Kelsey is an astonishing actor on every level. He’s one of the very few people I’ve worked with, who’s just naturally fabulous. He’s not nervous about it. He’s not walking around pacing with his head in his hands. He just is. He’s just there. It’s quite an amazing thing to work with someone like that. I just watched the movie and he’s just incredibly moving and funny at the same time. He really packs a big emotional punch.
Related: Exclusive: Kelsey Grammer Discusses His New Holiday Film, Christmas in Paradise
Christmas Time, Round Two
MW: How do you choose your projects these days? It’s such an interesting time in the entertainment world right now. The stakes are so much higher with pretty much everything.
Elizabeth Hurley: There is a huge amount of change on so many levels—the streamers, less cinema. But what I’ve noticed, and which I have to say is actually of immense benefit to myself, is that… you know, when I was much younger, you always fear that maybe parts are going to dry up, you’re going to have less to do, you’re only going to play really dull parent roles. And whether it’s part of the new movement that’s going on, or whether it’s a coincidence, or whether I’ve just been very fortunate, I feel that I’m being offered better and better parts as I get older, which is not what I expected, and not necessarily what other people talk about all the time. So, I am aware that maybe I’ve just hit him a little lucky streak. But for the past few years, I’ve been working nonstop, and not playing very dark, middle-aged parts.
MW: Your roles have been upbeat, in fact.
Elizabeth Hurley: I’ve been playing really feisty, or spunky, or silly, or emotional characters. I’m immensely grateful for that. And you know, my child isn’t a child anymore. I mean, he’s actually about to be my boss. He’s 20. Accepting some roles [in the past] had to fit in reasonably well with running my family, and my son’s schooling. And it did affect a lot of the things [I took on] for years, because I’m based back in the UK and I told my agents, ‘I can’t accept a big TV job in America, because I just can’t move because my son’s school. So, until he graduated at 18, I couldn’t really commit to anything full-time in America, which, of course, is what I like to do and where I like to be and where I like to work. But that’s changed now. My favorite place in the world is being on a set.
MW: What do you hope audiences enjoy most about Christmas in Paradise?
Elizabeth Hurley: With Christmas films, you want people to enjoy themselves. You want people to escape for an hour-and-a-half. You want them to be taken to a world they haven’t been to. Most Christmas films are set in the snow with reindeer, but on this set, we’re on the beach with palm trees and lights in the palm tree. It’s a slightly different look. And yet it’s really a high caliber of acting. And fresh. So, I hope people enjoy it. And because of the way this one was set up, it’s emotional, too. I think people will be moved.
Christmas in Paradise is available on VOD and Blu-ray from Lionsgate.
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