9 Things You Didn't Know About 'Holiday In Handcuffs', According To Melissa Joan Hart
Few would dare argue that ABC Family is cable TV's home for the holidays, and practically no one would attempt to challenge that the romantic comedy film Holiday In Handcuffs is the jewel of the channel's legendary 25 Days Of Christmas line-up — certainly not star Melissa Joan Hart herself. "That’s one of my favorite movies I’ve ever done," the actress, who played Trudie in the movie, tells Bustle, and it's easy to see why. The 2007 film is sweet, funny, and memorable, and when it came out, it was also a huge hit with fans; at the time of its release, Handcuffs was ABC Family's highest-rated program of all time, taking in a whopping 6.7 million viewers.
And, eight years later, the film is still a TV favorite able to be enjoyed all December long. Yet while plenty of fans might be all too familiar with its plot and characters, they might not know the details behind how the heartwarming film became a reality. Speaking to Bustle recently, Hart shared nine things you might never have realized about Holiday in Handcuffs, from the gorgeous — if flu-inducing — winter scenery to co-star Mario Lopez's love of his cell phone.
1. The Snow Was All Real
The great experience on set, says Hart, was only heightened by the natural winter wonderland that served as the backdrop of the film. "All that scenery you see in the background...that wasn’t created, that was there," the actress explains. "We were in Calgary. And it didn’t stop snowing the whole time we were there. It was amazing."
2. But Everyone Got Sick
While the weather may have been beautiful, it didn't do any favors for the health of the cast, which included star Mario Lopez as Trudie's kidnapped fake boyfriend. Hart recalls how her getting sick nearly ruined the magic of the famous ice skating scene. "I had a huge fight with the producer about the earmuffs in the ice skating scene. Because I was like, 'I have to wear these earmuffs or I’m going to get an ear infection and I will be out for the week,'" Hart says. "And luckily, I won. The next day she came to me and said, 'They look really cute, actually.'"
3. And They Were All Stuck Together
The actress suspects her one-year-old son may have been patient zero for the plague that hit the cast and crew, and how June Lockhart, a Lassie star who played Trudie's grandmother in Holiday, got the worst of the flu that circulated through the production. It got so bad that Hart says she and her co-stars began referring to the tight-knit cabin set they filmed in as "the petri dish." Fortunately, everyone eventually got out of the woods and back to good health.
4. Hart Wasn't A Fan Of One Famous Costume
Remember Trudie's disastrous perm and nightmare pink dress? It wasn't exactly Hart's favorite look. "I begged the producers and finally they switched it," she recalls." I was supposed to wear [that wardrobe] for another whole section of the movie... and they figured out a place, while we were shooting, a new place to change it. So I got to actually get out of that outfit a little bit earlier than I would have."
5. But She Had A Great Time Overall
Hart says that filming Holiday In Handcuffs was "a really, really fun time," even when getting into character wasn't always the easiest process.
6. Co-Star Mario Lopez Was Addicted To His Phone
Hart says she enjoyed her time working with co-star Lopez — even if he wasn't always paying attention. At the time of Holiday, Lopez was fresh off of Dancing With The Stars and at the start of a relationship with professional dancer Karina Smirnoff, and, Hart recalls, was constantly on his phone. "I just remember telling him, 'Get off your phone dude, have some fun with us!'" she says.
7. But He Did Witness One Romantic Moment
Hart recalls a day that her husband Mark Wilkerson planned to visit her on set, and she was filled with anticipation for when "the cute guy walks into the room." When Wilkerson did appear, Lopez caught the exact moment that Hart noticed her husband's presence, and was awed by how she "lit up" when she saw him. "He goes, 'Wow, I hope I have that some day,'" Hart says. "I'll always remember that."
8. Hart Has Only Re-Watched It A Few Times
When asked if she ever re-watches the movie, the actress confesses that she only has a couple of times. The horror!
9. But She Plans On Showing It To Her Family
Holiday In Handcuffs might even make an appearance in the Hart/Wilkerson household this year, and perhaps convert Hart's three children. "Actually that’ll be a good one to show my kids this year," she says. Seems like the perfect family Christmas gift.
Additional reporting by Kelsea Stahler
Images: ABC Family; Giphy