In a charming tale of love discovered on rural horse ranch, Hallmark Channel’s “Under the Autumn Moon” is a picturesque and heart-warming look at how life offers unexpected rewards just when you least expect it. For Alex McKenna, delightfully portrayed by Lindy Booth, visiting the Harmony Ranch is a chance to impress her boss and perhaps get a chance at a long-fought for promotion. Fortunately, Alex brings an open heart and an open mind, which leads to an abundance of surprises. In an exclusive interview, Lindy Booth happily shares what it was like bringing “Under The Autumn Moon” to life and all the fun she had working on the film.
Let’s talk a little about your upcoming film “Under The Autumn Moon.” I watched it and it was really fun to watch. So cute and beautifully filmed. So what was kind of the appeal for you?
LINDY: Beautiful, right? I love these Hallmark movies. I think the world is in such a place of like where a happy ending is a good and beautiful thing. And for me, filming them is exactly that. It’s just this little Hallmark family that you create on these movies, and they’re so lovely and heartwarming and good, and I love being a part of them. And of course, I’m not gonna lie, the opportunity to shoot on a farm with all of the animals and go horseback ride — I mean, it did not feel like work at all!
Where was this filmed?
LINDY: We shot it outside of Winnipeg in Canada. It was towards the end of the summer, so it was actually just starting to turn fall over there. It’s really pretty.
How would you describe who your character Alex McKenna?
LINDY: I really loved Alex, and I think I could relate a lot to her. I think she’s this very strong and independent and smart career woman, who loves her family. She talks about her parents multiple times in the movie, and about the incredible upbringing they gave her, and the sacrifices they made for her. I can definitely relate to that. My parents were so supportive of me, and are still such strong people in my life. I don’t make any decision without running by them first. But also, she’s in this career path. She has made sacrifices, and one of those sacrifices had been her love life. She just has been straight through school, straight through grad school, straight through job after job, and has finally found this position. And even now that she’s got this great job, she’s still working for another promotion, still trying to get ahead. And so, I understand that workaholic mentality, but I also understand the idea that she’s had to make sacrifices and leave some other stuff behind. I think she’s in a place where she’s finally realizing that maybe the grind and the work isn’t really the most important thing to her, and she’s forgotten about some of the things that really matter to her.
It is interesting because this film not only shows of course the beautiful romance and falling back in love with nature, but it also showed the positive relationship Alex had with her boss. It showed that she could have both worlds.
LINDY: I think it’s a little bit of a different twist on the Hallmark movies, because I think people think of them as sometimes giving up one world in order to have another. I think this is a much more realistic thing of being able to make both things work and realizing that you don’t have to deny who you are in order to be good at your work. And in fact, you’re better at your work, when you acknowledge what you love in it, and what you bring to it. I think a million people could do a specific job, but it’s who you are and what you care about that makes that job special, and that makes you the right person for that job. And I think that’s a great part of this story. We had such an amazing time shooting the scenes with my boss, that beautiful fishing scene. It was a really strong and powerful relationship that he was so supportive of her, and so good at guiding her to be the best person she could be.
What about the dynamic between Alex and Josh (Wes Brown)? Of course, it felt like there was immediate sparks there, so how was it working on those scenes for you?
LINDY: It was super fun. The great thing about Wes and I — and Josh, and Alex — is that we’ve had very similar relationships in the beginning. Not that Wes and I were flirty, but we were constantly teasing each other, and knew how to push each other’s buttons right from the beginning. We were very good at picking on each other and making each other laugh, and trying to keep a straight face while we were shooting. So it was super fun shooting those scenes with Wes because he is such a good guy. We had such a fun and spirited relationship to being with — although I think he took way too much pleasure in dumping all of that hay on my head! [Laughs] He just enjoyed that a little bit too much, and I didn’t really get to fight back in the way that I wanted to, which would’ve been way better.
What would you say were some of your favorite scenes? What should fans look forward to as they’re watching?
LINDY: If fans have any love for animals in the way I do, this is the Hallmark Fall Harvest movie for you. There’s so many lovely scenes with animals, and the horseback riding scenes were my favorite to shoot. When we shot that scene where Alex finally gets back on the horse, quite literally, it was so wonderful for me, because they basically just put me on the horse, and were like, “Okay, ride.” I just got to ride around the pen with the horse, and it was beautiful day, the sun was shining, and the cameras were far enough away that I could really feel this beautiful fall moment of being on the back of this horse and just being out in nature It was spectacular. There’s goats and kittens and lamas. This is a menagerie movie. It was so much fun. And the fishing too. I loved being out on the lake. It was one of the most peaceful scenes I’ve ever shot. We shot right at sun-break, and we were out in the lake, and it was so spectacularly beautiful and quiet. All you heard was the water lapping, and the animals waking up, and the birds, and it was really special.
You seem to have become, after a couple films in a row — including “Rocky Mountain Christmas” — where you have become a go-to Hallmark actress who does the outdoorsy type films. I wouldn’t normally have thought of you as somebody who is the dude ranch kind of gal. But it’s interesting that you’ve now been cast twice in those kinds of roles.
LINDY: [Laughs] Thank you for seeing through that to the real me! I am not a dude ranch type of girl at all. But I think the thing is I sort of am a secret big city girl by heart. Like, I love living in a city. Those are all my favorite vacations — city vacations. But I also gotta say there is something about being out in nature, and I love going out and taking vacations where I’m quiet and there’s no cellphone reception, and it’s just like me and my friends hiking, or I love going up to my dad’s cottage and going out on a lake with him and fishing. So there is a part of me that really does relate to these characters. And I think there’s always something fun about going out of your comfort zone and just going for it. And I love a challenge like that. Like, when we did “Rocky Mountain Christmas,” I hadn’t been on a horse in a couple years, and so I was a little nervous about it, but it just reminded me that sometimes you do need to take a risk, and you do need to push yourself. And that’s one fun way that these movies have been great for me, because they have taken me out of my comfort zone and put me into a whole other place. So I do relate to the characters always on that level too.
What do you think is inspiring about that kind of environment, the ranch life, that brings out the romance?
LINDY: I think there’s something really sexy about working with your hands and just being out in nature, and not having your phone to rely on. Part of the reason why this romance blossoms is that Alex’s phone barely works, and she’s not able to do all the work that she thinks that she’s there to do. She has to find other ways to get her work done, which is to just throw herself right in and commit to it. I think it’s sexy working with your hands and working together and accomplishing something together. That’s always like a bond building experience when you’re working towards a common goal, especially if you’re working with your hands.
Alex and Josh kind of has a kind of a “meet cute” moment involving the roping. How was that to actually film? Were you able to do it one take or did it take multiple takes?
LINDY: [Laughs] It was shockingly easy, mostly because there was a stunt double both throwing the lasso and having the lasso land on them. We had a professional lassoer, and a professional lassoee.
That made it easier then. Honestly, he did it in one take. It was pretty impressive. He just wound up, and she walked around the corner, and he threw it and got her. And then we did all the bits and pieces with me Wes. So that was a miracle of editing, because I didn’t want Wes to have to worry about hitting me in the face with a rope. It would not would have been as meet cute. It would’ve been like “meet painful.” [Laughs]
That’s when you gotta bring in the professionals.
You obviously look like you’re real comfortable on horseback. How was it to film for the movie?
LINDY: I will say that it was great. We had an incredible crew, we had an incredible director. Wes is charming as all get out. The whole cast was amazing. I would say the only time things got a little dicey was when the goats were involved. Because I have never watched a group of men stand around and try to direct goats before, but I thought it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life, watching people be like, “If we could just get the goats to sort of … I don’t know, maybe look a little more happy to see her, and then they’ll be sort of over here, and then they see her coming, and then they sort of get excited and jump up on her. But like, not in an aggressive, in a kind, sort of like cuddly … ” And I was like, “Guys, they’re goats. They’re not gonna do anything you tell them to do.” Like no one has ever said, “You know what a really easy animal to train is? Goats.” You cannot train a goat. This is a herd of goats. All they want to do is eat foot, so you put food on the ground, they’re not leaving. But then you can’t get them to do anything else. That was the problem, all they would do was eat the food. They’re smart. They just want to get fed. They gave me food to hold, so the goats would come to me. Well, of course, they were really aggressive about that, and jumped up on me, and almost knocked me over. And so I got good a stomach workout that day laughing. They were out of their mind crazy and adorable. I loved them. I couldn’t have loved it any more. I just thought it was so funny watching people try to wrangle goats.
What is about these kind of projects that you’re drawn to? Why the Hallmark family? What’s been pulling you back in every time?
LINDY: I will say, I really love the fan reaction them. I love how many people’s holiday seasons they make. Like, I love people that come up to me and tell me stories about how they sit with their grandma, or their mom, or their friends, and they all get together and they wrap Christmas present, or they bake Thanksgiving pies, or girls who come up and say, “My friends and I get together on a Friday, Saturday night and just sit around and drink wine and watch them, because they’re feel good movies.” I love the opportunity to make someone’s day. I think it’s really important to make people happy and to make people smile. It’s part of why I am an actor — just the reaction that I get from people. I love hearing that people’s days were made by my movies, and I think that’s a really powerful thing to be able to do, is just to make someone smile.
It does. I enjoy all their films, and I’ve really enjoyed the few that you’ve made for Hallmark so far. They’re just always delightful. It seems like you pour your heart into it. It’s just lovely.
LINDY: Oh, thank you. I do. I love making them. I love the spirit of them. I did a lot of horror movies when I started out, and also my dad and my mom got sick of seeing me die or kill people. So, the Hallmark movies, they’re really happy about that too. [Laughs][ You always want to make mom and dad happy!
To see the heart-warming story of “Under The Autumn Moon,” be sure to tune in for the premiere on Saturday, October 13th at 9:00 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel and also be sure to follow both @HallmarkChannel and @LindyBooth for the live-tweet during the premiere.
“Under The Autumn Moon” preview:
On Location – “Under The Autumn Moon”: