Danica McKellar has a great deal to be proud of at home and at work, and she shares many traits with her matchmaker-sleuth character Angie Dove.
A Hallmark actress and prolific author who continues to delight her myriad of fans, McKellar is especially excited about her continuing role as matchmaker Angie Dove in her latest movie, the Matchmaker Mystery Series: The Art of the Kill, the third installment in the series. The charming McKellar shares the trait of being able to read people and is co-stars again with Victor Webster and Bruce Boxleitner.
In addition to her love for her family, writing 10 successful math books, and acting and producing Hallmark movies and series, McKellar says she has an extremely soft spot and for her fans and the heart-felt network.
“I am so grateful to be part of a network that is so good to its fans, and that helps its fans through tough times, as we went through this past year,” she exclusively explains to Monsters & Critics.
“Hallmark is a place to come for quality entertainment that is family-friendly and makes you feel good, and where you know everything’s going to work out in the end,” she continues. “It’s not just a wonderful escape from everyday life but it’s also a reminder of the good sides of life and of human nature. I call it my prescription for sanity.”
Recently, McKellar spoke to Monsters & Critics about her many loves – on and off-screen, how she and her husband got together thanks to a matchmaker and her advice on how to help others find their happily ever after…just like on Hallmark.
Monsters & Critics: So, Danica, have you ever made any matches with friends or family? Are you a good matchmaker?
Danica McKellar: I have never made any matches myself, and do not think this is my forte, but my husband and I were matched. We had some mutual friends who thought we would be a good match. They played matchmaker for us and it was very successful. So, I’m the happy recipient of matchmaking.
M&C: What do we have to look forward to in the new movie?
Danica McKellar: I am excited about a few things actually. This is our third movie, and in the first one, Bruce Boxleitner, who plays my dad, has a bigger and more important role instead of just making awesome cameo appearances here and there. He’s actually investigating some effects that have been happening at the local museum. I go to have lunch with him there and that’s when we discover the dead body. So, he’s involved from the very beginning and has a bigger role throughout. He’s a great guy and I love playing his daughter.
I find an art museum to be an awesome place for a mystery. There’s something extra cool about it with all these really cool statutes all around. The environment lends itself to the mystery.
M&C: What else adds intrigue?
Danica McKellar: Well, there is this question of whether or not Angie Dove and Kyle Carter have other feelings for each other or not? There’s this will they, or won’t they that’s underneath every movie. In the second movie, there was a scene where I am at dinner with my ex-boyfriend, and we’re just about to have dessert and Kyle comes in and arrests my ex-boyfriend for murder. Anyway, at the end of the episode he says to me, “Hey, I owe you dessert.”
So, that was kind of provocative in itself. It’s like, “hmm, he indicated that he’s going to ask me on a date.” And on this third movie, he actually does make good on that promise. So, I want the audience to see it because he also says it’s not a date. So it’s just a fun extra little element. And because my character is a matchmaker and her whole world revolves around matching other people, it’s really funny because she’s got almost no skills whatsoever when it comes to handling her own love life.
M&C: What is it like to have fans all over the world?
Danica McKellar: It’s a wonderful position to be in. I am extremely grateful for everyone who watches my movies or reads my books, and when they let me know about it. It feels so good to me to know that I’m helping people, again either understand how to do math so the kids aren’t as confused anymore, or with Hallmark movies, whether it’s the mysteries, or the Christmas movies or the other movies that I’ve done for them, they are just movies that make you feel good. You know that everything’s going to work out in the end. Especially in a world that’s as crazy as we’re experiencing now for a while, it’s really nice to know that I’m helping to create a safe haven for the fans.
M&C: After appearing in so many romantic movies, what’s your personal take on romance?
Danica McKellar: I consider myself to be pretty romantic. My husband and I just went to Joshua Tree for the weekend just to get away and be together. I think it’s really important to work on your relationship and to work on your marriage. While I’m a romantic, I also acknowledge that when it comes to nurturing a relationship, you have to keep putting work into it. It’s not like in the movies where you get together and suddenly now you’re just set and because that’s the end of the movie.
To me it is romantic to acknowledge that relationships require work and effort, and because we get distracted by our everyday lives it’s important to take time away, to go on little trips, and just go out of your way to give your spouse a compliment. Sometimes, we have a compliment stuck in our heads and we forget to say them out loud, and those little things can make a really big difference.
Since Mother’s Day is coming up soon, what is the best part of motherhood?
Danica McKellar: The best part of motherhood is everything; I love it. I love my little guy so much and I love teaching him about the world. I love those snuggles. My son is 10 but he still snuggles with me and I’m going to hold onto that for as long as I possibly can. I homeschool him and I love watching him learn. I love watching the eyes light up, especially when he gets a new math concept. As you can imagine that’s just exciting for me.
M&C: What is your favorite way to spend time with your son?
Danica McKellar: I love going on adventures with him. We’re hopefully getting to go on some field trips again soon, we used to go on field trips all the time. Whether it’s to museums or we do little road trips and go see a factory or something, we’re just going out and exploring the world. I take my responsibilities as a mother very seriously and I’m having so much fun with him.
M&C: What’s it like for you to watch the mystery series or your Hallmark movies later on?
Danica McKellar: I’m a producer on a lot of them so I end up watching a few different versions of the movies along the way, so I’m involved in the editing process. So, to me when I watched the premier, I’ve kind of already seen it. The first time I watch myself in anything, I’m always on edge. I’m very self-conscious and on edge. But luckily by the time the premier comes around I’ve seen the movie five or six times and I can relax and enjoy it, and live Tweet with everyone and just have a good time. But no, yeah, the first time I watch something, anything, I’m just cringing.
M&C: Talk about your chemistry with Victor Webster, your leading man in this. Have you gotten to be better friends? Did you keep in touch during COVID-19 isolation?
Danica McKellar: Yes, we have become good friends, and we’ve kept in touch for sure. A lot of times through Instagram we’ll DM and see like, “How you doing?” and talk about hopefully getting together soon.” He’s a great guy and it’s been really fun on camera to watch that relationship develop. When on the very first movie, Kyle Carter does not want my character, Angie Dove, to have anything to do with his investigation. They’re laughing at her and saying, “Don’t worry your pretty little head about this. You go ahead and be a matchmaker and I’m going to do my job.”
M&C: Do we know how many of these Matchmaker Mysteries there will be? Or if the next one is in the works?
Danica McKellar: That is also a mystery. We are waiting to find out.
M&C: What Hallmark projects do you have coming up next?
Danica McKellar: We are working on my Christmas movie, and potentially another one. We are focused on the Christmas movie right now. I’m not able to say anything about it yet, but I’m very excited about it and it might shoot in at a different location than we’re not used to shooting in. So I can’t say much about it except that I absolutely love Hallmark and love Hallmark Christmas movies.
M&C: Please talk about the 10 math books you have published. What does it feel like to be changing lives and helping girls and boys get over their math fears?
Danica McKellar: When I was in middle school I was terrified of math, and I used to come home and cry because I was afraid of failing my math homework. And my parents were just bewildered, they’re like, “Danica, just do your best, it doesn’t matter. It’s really okay.” But I put a lot of pressure on myself, and also because midway through the seventh grade a new teacher came in, and suddenly the same concepts that had scared me so much made sense. That was my introduction into the idea that, “Oh, maybe it’s the way math is presented that makes the difference,” in terms of whether students understand it or not. You can find them all at McKellarMath.com.
M&C: What is the philosophy behind your books?
Danica McKellar: The whole point is making math fun and acceptable and presenting it in a way that’s not intimidating. It’s about presenting it in a way that uses cartoons, comic strips, and fun stories so that kids relax. You’ve got to be relaxed to learn, and if you can incorporate humor in the books it works even better. You can’t be afraid and laughing at the same time as it turns out. So I’ve had a lot of fun making these books. And it’s goofy and helpful. I can’t believe I have been writing these books for 15 years. But it’s gratifying to me because I get so many wonderful responses back. So many kids and their parents have been writing to me saying that there used to be tears and now they feel confident in math. This is the most amazing feeling in the world.
M&C: Have you heard from grateful parents and children during COVID-19?
Danica McKellar: This past summer when everybody was struggling trying to learn from home, I had a lot of great feedback for my newest math book The Time’s Machine! I loved that I get to be here for parents in their time of need, and it was a really wonderful feeling to know that I could legitimately help them. I’m incredibly proud of the books.
When you’re watching Hallmark movies what are you drinking and eating? What are your go-to snacks?
Danica: McKellar: I love popcorn, and I’m going to plug a fellow Hallmark star Andrew Walker’s Little West cold-pressed juices, a company with his wife. I worked with Andrew in Love in Design. And it’s great stuff, so yeah, you’ll find me eating popcorn and drinking water or these juices. I’ll be drinking Golden Greens and eating popcorn.
M&C: If somebody’s watching your Hallmark movies and looking for love and haven’t found it yet, what would you tell them?
Danica McKellar: Don’t look for love, work on yourself. Get yourself to be the kind of person that you’d want to date. Become that person and love will follow.
Matchmaker Mystery Series: The Art of the Kill premieres on Hallmark Murders & Mysteries on Sunday, April 18, at 8/7c.