Brittany Bristow’s Hallmark movies allow her the pleasures of being surrounded by zebras and giraffes in South Africa, eating scrumptious chocolate in Belgium, and spending her days playing with a feisty group of adorable puppies.
Bristow has made many memorable Hallmark romances, including Love on Safari (2018), Love Romance & Chocolate (2019), and most recently, A Tail of Love, premiering on Saturday, April 23. The charming movie is part of the network’s “Spring into Love” event.
Not only was she surrounded by adorable puppies and dogs, and supported by Chris McNally as JR, her leading man, the movie was written by her mother and directed by her father, making it a true family affair.
A Tail of Love is about Bella (Bristow), a passionate young woman who runs a dog rescue with her grandmother, which is her grandfather’s legacy.
When they lose their main source of funding from a dog food company that is being sold after the passing of the owner, JR, the son of the owner, a soldier back in town on extended leave to handle the sale, quickly bonds with a retired military dog named Indie.
Bella, JR, and Indie bond, and as they spend more time together, we will discover is a spring romance is in the air.
“This was one of those movies where I wanted to do it no matter what it took,” Bristow exclusively explains to Monsters & Critics.
“I’m really glad I was given a chance to do this leading role. Everything about it was intriguing, and I loved every aspect of it! It was an honor being the leading lady in this movie,” she said. “I felt so supported by everyone, and I felt like I was just surrounded by people who were truly incredible every step of the way.”
Read on about Brittany Bristow’s film career, how she and her parents created a romantic spring romance movie that is filled with charm, loads of dogs, and much more.
How many dogs did you fall in love with while making this movie?
Brittany Bristow: All of them. Literally, any dog anywhere that was in the vicinity.
Have you always been a dog person?
I have been a dog person my entire life. I got a dog for the first time when I was six years old after harassing my parents into getting a dog. I absolutely love them.
What kind did you get when you were little?
We got an English Springer Spaniel. She was black and white and had these very long ears that she used to trip over all the time when she was a puppy, and a little, tiny tail.
What was the attraction of A Tail of Love?
Honestly, there were so many things. I loved the script. I loved the character, Bella, and the dog aspect. I was completely in love with the story from the get-go. It was a real honor to be working on something with Chris. And then, to be working with my parents was really exciting.
Tell me about this family affair.
My dad was the director. So, it was a fun little family project. I’ve done a couple of projects with them, but this was my first lead with them on the creative side. So, it was really special, and we just had an absolute blast working on it together in North Bay, Ontario, right on the water. It was a nice place to be. It’s sort of like being in cottage country or cabin country, which is beautiful in the summertime.
Have you worked with your leading man Chris McNally before?
Brittany: No, I haven’t. This was my first project with him, and he was just absolutely incredible. I loved every minute on set with him. He’s such a wonderful actor, and he’s just a really great person, as well.
When you weren’t filming were you having dinner at a restaurant with your parents? Or was somebody cooking? What was happening when the filming stopped for the night?
Well, we would do a lot of cast dinners. Of course, we were shooting when COVID was still a big problem, so we weren’t able to go out a lot. But we were lucky in that it was pretty warm out. Right, when we started shooting, things started opening back up again, so we were able – there was this one beautiful restaurant called Churchills in North Bay that the whole cast absolutely fell in love with, so we would do quite a few cast dinners there.
What was it like being the leading lady in this movie?
The cast is out of this world incredible. Working with Jayne was a dream come true for me. It was really special. I felt like everyone was really supportive. Everyone believed that I could, which was amazing. Yeah, it was just one of those films where you read the script, and you think, oh my gosh to play this character would just be such a dream come true, and that’s what it felt like every day for me. It felt like a dream come true.
Talk about the highlights of the movie.
There are a bunch of really special moments throughout the film. Really, I think the things that are the most touching are the moments between the various dogs and people. The relationships that you see being built, the effects that dogs have on people is something that’s really present. I think, too, there are a lot of really beautiful moments. Jayne Eastwood, who plays Lily, or Nana, in the movie. I always call her Nana. There’s a really beautiful storyline and arc for her character, as well, about it never being too late to love, and it’s never too late to give and receive love. Which I think is a really beautiful storyline, and something that I think will be really touching for a lot of people.
But, of course, the relationship that builds between Bella and JR is incredible, and it’s really sweet. It’s very earnest, and I think it comes from a very genuine place for both of them. There’s a lot of vulnerability that is explored between the two of them, and a lot of that is encouraged by Indie, who is sort of the catalyst for their development as people, which is really neat to see.
Where was Love on Safari filmed?
We shot Love on Safari in South Africa. More specifically, in an area called Hartbeespoort, which I can only pronounce terribly. But it was about half an hour away from Johannesburg. We shot on a reserve, which was absolutely incredible. We got to stay there and everything. On our way to hair and makeup in the morning, we’d be walking by zebras and ostriches and seeing giraffes in the distance. We had quite a few funny moments of waking up because monkeys were running along the roof of the building. But, yeah, we shot that on location in South Africa, and it was such an incredible joy to be a part of it.
Tell me about working with Lacey Chabert in several Hallmark movies.
She’s the best. Lacey is one of those people that everybody says nice things about her, and my comment is always there are more nice things, but they’re just not tangible. Like you can’t say them. But she’s nicer than all of the nice things people can say about her. She’s just the best person ever.
What was it like making Love, Romance & Chocolate in Belgium?
It was amazing. Belgium is one of those places that are just so magical whenever you go. But we were really lucky. We were actually shooting there just before the Christmas holiday, and so we were there when all of these incredible Christmas markets were popping up. The way that the city is designed, there are all of these little squares everywhere, and every square was decorated with Christmas lights and had all of these really cool carousels and little stands where you could get oysters and champagne or chocolate. It was just like everything there felt so decadent. Everywhere there are fresh-cut French fries and homemade chocolate. Just the most incredible – it felt like you were walking into Christmas. I can’t even begin to explain it. If you’re ever going to go, I highly recommend going in the lead-up to the Christmas holidays because it is so spectacular to see everything that they do there. It’s a neat place, and the food’s incredible. It’s awesome.
Were those real chocolate shops?
Yes, they were. They were real chocolate shops. Let me tell you. It smelled so good on set every single day because there were a couple of times, too, where there was an extraordinary chocolatier who was assisting on the film with making chocolates and helping Will, who actually did go and take classes to learn how to make chocolate. He made very good chocolates. He gave me a bag of them, and they did not last very long. Yeah, there was a chocolatier who was there who was making fresh chocolates while we were shooting. It was incredible.
How long have you been with Hallmark?
The first film I did for Hallmark was Love Blossoms, which I did in 2017.
Why have you stayed with Hallmark all of these years?
Honestly, being a part of the Hallmark family is such an incredible honor. I feel so loved and so supported by everyone on the network. I’m one of the people that Hallmark has really sort of taken under its wing in a way.
Everyone at the network has just been so incredibly supportive as I’ve found my footing and continued to grow with them. Then when I got offered the opportunity to have my first leading role with the network, it was so incredible to feel so supported. I think it’s very rare where you’re somewhere where you feel like everyone is rooting for you, and you really feel that way when you’re a part of the Hallmark family.
Have you watched the final cut or near-final cut of this movie with your parents?
I haven’t. But I’m very excited about watching it live with everyone on Saturday, which is kind of terrifying and exciting at the same time. It’s always so exciting to see my movies come together and see what people like about them. It’s part of the fun for me, being able to watch it live with everyone and experience it for the first time with all of them.
Why do you encourage our readers to watch?
I think that this film really showcases what it is to be brave. I think that we get an opportunity to really see vulnerability and true romance and true love. It’s one of those films that’s just going to make people happy. There are dogs. Dogs alone, yeah, it’s one of those films that I think people are really going to gravitate towards. There’s happiness around every corner; there are people facing challenges and finding ways to overcome them by working together, by leaning on each other. It’s a beautiful film.
A Tail of Love premieres on Saturday, April 23, at 8/tc he Hallmark Channel.
For more Hallmark, check out Exclusive interview: Why Sopranos star Aida Turturro loves Broadway musicals and Hallmark love stories.