Luke Macfarlane on Hallmark's 'Just Add Romance' and Staying in Touch With His 'Brothers & Sisters' Co-Stars

Meaghan Darwish
Q&A Copyright 2019 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: David Owen Strongman

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch a Chopped-like cooking competition on the Hallmark Channel? Viewers will soon know when they tune into the network's latest film, Just Add Romance, starring Luke Macfarlane and Meghann Fahy.

Their characters, Jason and Kelly, connect in culinary school, only to be separated by career opportunities. But the hint of a spark they experienced in the past becomes a full-fledged flame when they meet once again under the pressure of a cooking competition show.

TV Insider caught up with Macfarlane, who is best known for his work in shows like Killjoys and Brothers & Sisters, as well as a few Christmas films for Hallmark.

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The network also ordered two other holiday films to premiere this year.

The actor describes his character as "a family guy but also a guy looking for love." Below, Macfarlane dishes up some sweet behind-the-scenes secrets and more.

You do a lot of cooking in this film. Are you as skilled in the kitchen as you appear to be onscreen? Was it challenging? 

Luke Macfarlane: It was interesting. This is not the first time I've played a chef, actually, which I think is funny, but we were really lucky: Our director of photography was actually a former chef, so he had all these great little tips about the way one uses a cloth in the kitchen or chops a vegetable.

So, there were a few opportunities when we got to dial in on those close-up shots of specific things happening. There's one section in the movie where I'm racing to garnish something very quickly and do the finishing touches on it where all of the advice came from the director of photography. But in real life, Luke – not so much a chef, gotta be honest with you.

What else should viewers expect to see in Just Add Romance?

I can say that it's a little bit different than your sort of typical Hallmark film in the sense that it's kind of a show-within-a-show, which I think is really unique about the movie. If you're interested in reality television and competition shows, the fun part of the movie is you get to watch a competition show inside of a regular Hallmark movie.

So, it's two for the price of one which I think is killer. And I will also just say that to viewers who aren't familiar with my costar [Meghann Fahy], they're in for a real treat, I think she's incredibly talented and just fantastic in the movie, and a fantastic person.

You and Meghann have great onscreen chemistry. Is it safe to say you got along offscreen, as well?

Totally. I developed a real friendship with her over our days on set, but like usually after a long day of filming we'd have dinner at the one restaurant within walking distance to our hotel.

This isn't your first Hallmark film. How does Just Add Romance compare to your past experiences with the network?

Well, in the past, you know, I've done mostly Christmas movies, so that's a big difference – it's not a Christmas movie.

I think what's unique about this movie and different than the others I've done is it's about three quarters of the way in and they kiss. That's pretty different than a lot of Hallmark films. I think it plays with the expectations a little bit. You're not spending the whole moving going, 'are they gonna get together?' They get together a little bit earlier, but in general, Hallmark is such a great place to work in that I'm always happy to go back.

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Whether the flick is new this year or one of their throwback classics, these festive rom-coms are all the same at their core.

As part of the Hallmark family, what do you think makes fans tune in time and again?

If I had the secret sauce I'd be a very wealthy man. I think it is something to the effect that they are sort of preaching what they practice in the sense that people are treated very well, so, I mean, if people can feel that through the TV, I think that's a thing… And I think maybe in this time people are looking for that kind of a place to feel safe and comfortable.

What makes a role like Jason so fun to play? He's so different from your other roles in shows like Killjoys and Brothers & Sisters.

Totally. I remember during filming of Killjoys I would look at my costars and go like, 'God, I just want to have a romantic comedy scene, like enough of the punching of the face.' It's hard on your body. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love the action, I love the guns and the shootin' and the flipping a person over a kitchen table, but it's nice to have a change.

It's nice to do something different, and it's nice to also feel like people like what you're doing… Sometimes when you try something different, people go, 'I'm not buying it,' and it's been really nice that people like me in the Hallmark films cause it is so different than my regular thing, so that makes me feel really, really happy.

Speaking of Killjoys, when should fans be able to expect to see Season 5? Anything you can tease?

The life that we saw them figure out together moves on, so when the series comes to an end you feel really comforted in the fact that our three heroes are gonna continue what they do best, which is kickin' ass and taking names.

And speaking of Brothers & Sisters, what a cast you had on that show! Do you keep in touch with any of them? Any plans to work together again?

I would happily work with any of them again, I keep in touch with a few people, and I'm so proud of my television husband Matthew Rhys for his Emmy win. I texted him immediately, and I said 'I always said it, you're the greatest actor I ever worked with and now you have the statue to prove it.'

I always joke — and by the way, this is nothing except for me being a little speculatory — I was like, 'Guys, we should do a Christmas special, you know, wouldn't people love to see the Walkers on vacation in Hawaii over the Christmas holidays...10 years later?' I don't think that will ever happen in a billion years, but that would be a lovely thing, I think … that would be a great idea.

Binge culture is a major part of TV today. Is there anything that you're loving or watching right now?

I'm definitely right on the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel bandwagon. I think that show is so special… I was talking to my sister on the phone the other day, and she's like, 'I kind of wish I lived in the back bedroom of that Upper West Side apartment'… I'm a little concerned about their kids.

Just Add Romance, Movie Premiere, Saturday, March 2, 8/7c, Hallmark Channel