In Cut, Color, Murder, actress Julie Gonzalo plays a small-town hairstylist who knows everybody’s business. This knowledge comes in handy when the director of the local beauty pageant is found dead and everyone involved in the event — including her sister — becomes a suspect.
“Who doesn’t like a whodunit?” Gonzalo said in an interview to promote the movie, which premieres on Sunday, February 6. “I love a good mystery, and I’ve read Agatha Christie and all those whodunits, and this is my very first time doing a mystery.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a part of a murder mystery,” McPartlin said.
McPartlin said he developed the idea for the script with writers Jason Filardi and Walt Becker. He said the characters were as important to the story as the circumstances surrounding the murder.
The character he plays in the movie, Detective Kyle Crawford, is a “fish out of water” who has been called to a small town he knows little about to help the local sheriff.
Luckily for him, the sheriff has the best source of information in town in Ali Bowden (played by Gonzalo), who is the widow of his former partner.
“He finds out that the lead detective in town…is using this hairstylist for solving crime,” McPartlin said.
Hallmark’s Cut, Color, Murder is years in the making
McPartlin had his break-out role in the soap opera Passions, which he described in the interview as a cult classic. He went on to appear in Hart of Dixie, Devious Maids, and Chuck.
He and his creative partners came up with the idea for Cut, Color, Murder and, in his words, “geared down in a diner outside of Pasadena” until they had fleshed out the story.
The project was pitched to Crown Media, the company in charge of content for Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, and Hallmark Movies Now. But it was only when Gonzalo agreed to join the cast that the movie was given the go-ahead, McPartlin said.
McPartlin was thrilled to reunite with his former Passions castmate Eva Tamargo, whom he described as a grounding force. He said the cast quickly bonded in the intense, rain-soaked shoot in Burnaby, Canada.
While the audience learns a lot about the back story of Gonzalo’s character, Ali, a lot is left unsaid when it comes to McPartlin’s character.
“Your character is quite the big mystery,” Gonzalo said. “So I think that’s going to be fun.”
McPartlin said the characters’ backstories are as crucial to the story as the murder they are trying to solve.
“If the audience buys into us and the backstory and the reasons and the motivation for the two of them to solve these crimes and who they are and why they’re here, then they’re emotionally hooked,” he said. “And that’s what I always want to go for is that emotional involvement, not just whodunit, but the why behind it.”
Cut, Color, Murder will premiere on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries on Sunday, February 6 at 9/8c.