Actress Anna Holbrook will play the mother of Ashley Williams and Kimberly Williams-Paisley in the Sister Swap movies airing this Christmas on Hallmark.
The real-life sisters cried as they announced Holbrook’s involvement during an Instagram Live event.
“It’s miraculous,” Williams-Paisley said.
Holbrook, who starred in Another World from 1979 to 1999, lived next door to the Williams family in Yonkers, New York, when the girls were growing up. She became best friends with their mother, Linda Payne Williams, who passed away in 2016 after a long battle with dementia.
The sisters, who helped produce the two Christmas movies they will star in, said they weren’t sure if Holbrook would even be interested when they first approached her. Williams-Paisley taped her audition over a Zoom call. When they found out she got the part, the sisters then called her together.
“We were sobbing,” Williams said.
The sisters, who are both Hallmark veterans, came up with the idea of appearing together in a Christmas movie several years back. During a 2018 interview with the International Business Times, they confirmed they were working on a concept with Hallmark.
The Sister Swap movies were filmed earlier this year in Utah. The films, which take place during the same time frame, follow sisters Jennifer and Meg Swift.
In the first movie, Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday, Jennifer returns home for the family’s first Christmas since their beloved Uncle Dave passed away. Dave ran the town’s theater, The Madison, which is now badly in need of repairs and is for sale.
In the second movie, Sister Swap: Christmas in the City, Meg travels to Salt Lake City to help her sister with a Christmas restaurant competition. The winner gets a donation to the charity of their choice.
The sisters said Holbrook was their first choice when it came time to cast the role of their mother.
“There is no one in the world more beautiful than Anna Holbrook,” Williams said during the sisters’ Instagram Live event.