Hallmark veterans and real-life sisters Ashley Williams and Kimberly Williams-Paisley are producing and starring in two new Christmas movies that will appear this year on the network.
Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday and Sister Swap: Christmas in the City will feature the sisters as Jennifer and Meg Swift, who are the best of friends even though they live far apart.
Jennifer (Williams-Paisley) lives in Salt Lake City, where she runs a restaurant with her husband. Meg (Williams), lives in the small town of Hazelwood, where she helps their parents run a bakery.
In the first movie, Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday, Jennifer returns to Hazelwood 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 movies take place in the same time frame. They cross over and even share some scenes but show each sister’s different perspective.
“We built two interconnected movies and shot them simultaneously in Utah,” Williams said. “Our writers and our director, Sean McNamara, and our Hallmark team knew it was a puzzle and challenge, but everyone rose to the occasion.”
A Williams sister film was a long time coming
Both sisters have appeared in Hallmark movies before. Kimberly appeared in the 2017 Hallmark Hall of Flame film The Christmas Train.
Ashley has starred in the Christmas in Evergreen series, as well as Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater.
The sisters have been open about wanting to do a movie together for years. In a 2018 interview with the International Business Times, they confirmed they were working on a concept with Hallmark.
“We love each other, we love each other’s work and so we’re excited to move forward with the pair of Christmas movies because I think that’s a great fit for us,” Williams-Paisley said.
In May, Kimberly posted a video of the view from a ski lift and wrote, “Utah is so pretty!!”
She and Ashley also did a series of Instagram Live videos — some from hotel rooms — where they took questions from fans.
To announce the movies, the pair did an Instagram video showing Ashley sneaking up on Kimberly while she brushed her teeth, read a book, and practiced yoga, asking, “Do you want to do a movie with me?”
Kimberly’s response? “Obviously.”
The Williams were always a sister act
The Williams sisters grew up in Rye, New York, and were active in show business from a young age.
While pursuing a degree in drama from Northwestern University, Kimberly was cast in Father of the Bride, which also starred Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Diane Keaton. She went on to star in the TV shows According to Jim, Nashville, and Darrow and Darrow.
She is married to country music singer Brad Paisley, with whom she has two sons. They live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Ashley has appeared in How I Met Your Mother, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and Good Morning, Miami. She is married to producer Neal Dodson.
The network has yet to announced a date and time for the premiere of the films, though they will be released during the Christmas season of 2021.