‘A Holiday in Harlem’ Stars on Returning Home & Finding Love in Hallmark Movie (VIDEO)

A sunny, solo U.S. Virgin Islands getaway is how jet-setting corporate fixer Jazmin Carter (Olivia Washington) envisions spending Christmas in Hallmark Channel’s A Holiday in Harlem. But when her fiery grandmother Mama Belle (Queen Sugar’s Tina Lifford) injures herself on the first day of Harlem’s annual Christmas Jamboree — darn Yuletide Yoga class! — guilt-stricken Jazmin, who’d avoided coming home for years, extends her visit to take over chairing the weeklong event.

“She’s kind of a fish out of water in her own home,” explains the actress (daughter of Oscar winner Denzel Washington) to TV Insider’s Jim Halterman. “It’s like, this is the place that grew me, but how will I fit in here [now]?”

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Matchmaking Mama Belle knows: She teams Jazmin with childhood best friend Caleb (Will Adams), a hardware store owner and furniture restorer. “Jazmin was always the one he wanted to be with, without question,” Adams says. “It was just about him having faith that things would eventually come full-circle between them.”

While the characters have some differences to work through — she has to slow down and deal with her past, he needs to embrace change and think of his future — the actors were in sync. Both used holiday music to get into character when filming in Connecticut in September (Nat King Cole and Donny Hathaway for her, Louis Armstrong and Kurtis Blow for him), and both got competitive while shooting scenes for the jamboree’s basketball tournament. “I did play in high school. I was a little rusty,” admits Washington. “We were definitely keeping score.”

Watch the interview above.

A Holiday in Harlem, Movie Premiere, Sunday, November 14, 8/7c, Hallmark Channel