The Equalizer star Liza Lapira makes her Christmas movie debut with the new CBS holiday film, Must Love Christmas. Making the new movie bought Lapira as much joy as it should bring audiences when they see it. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Lapira said she loved every minute and hopes audiences have as much fun watching it as she had to make it.
In Must Love Christmas, Lapira plays Natalie, a famous romance novelist who writes hit Chrmstas-themed stories. While her characters have plenty of time for love, Natalie does not. When she gets stuck in the charming Cranberry Falls, she finds herself in the middle of a love triangle between her childhood crush Caleb (Nathan White) and journalist Nick (Neal Bledsoe), who is desperate to get an interview with her.
Although this is Lapira's first Christmas movie, she has long been in love with the genre. Must Love Christmas only made that love stronger. Every day, she got up "just running with so much joy" during the production. They put in 15-hour days, but it never felt like that.
"I did not know how I would be as leading a movie like this, and it turns out I love it," Lapira said. "Bring on the romantic comedies. I love it. I love playing, I love being in on all the scenes and playing a character that is, from beginning to end, soup to nuts, transformation goes from a mess to not a mess or vice versa. I'm in. So I learned that."
Must Love Christmas also goes against the curve with its diverse cast. She praised the "brilliance, and generosity, and just foresight of the team, including the writer" to offer her the lead role in this film. Lapira brought herself to the role, from her ethnicity and culture to her experience as a New Yorker and her personal vibe. She called it the "perfect alchemy" of those aspects, even if some of her own ideas did not make the cut. "I think it made for this great, it's alchemized into something that hopefully people will find fun on screen," Lapira told us.
Lapira also loved working with Neal Bledsoe and Nathan White, two veterans of the TV holiday movie genre. "They were both such down-to-earth, really kind, really generous guys and actors," Lapira said, adding that they even had little improvised moments between them. She enjoyed watching the chemistry between the two come to life and noted how kind, generous, and open they were.
"They've done so many of these movies," Lapira said of Bledsoe and White. "I've done press with them, and hearing them talk about this movie and differentiating it from the other movies that they've done in this genre was the best compliment a girl could have. They talked about the humor of it, they talked about how it was different. And so yeah, it was a feather in my cap to hear that from those guys."
Must Love Christmas is written by Mark Amato (A Christmas Proposal), directed by Martin Wood, and produced by Motion Picture Corporation of America. It premieres on CBS Sunday, Dec. 11 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. Lapira can also be seen on CBS' The Equalizer as Melody 'Mel' Bayani.