Carlos & Alexa PenaVega on ‘Picture Perfect Mysteries’: Sam & Allie ‘Butt Heads a Lot’
Alexa plays the wedding photographer who begins her own investigation after a murder in her town to her real-life husband Carlos’ detective who’s assigned to the case, and as viewers have come to expect from these movies, they’re not going to get along in the beginning.
TV Insider spoke with the PenaVegas about Picture Perfect Mysteries: Newlywed and Dead, crime-solving, and how their Hallmark characters would do if they switched movies.
Can you start with a preview of your characters and the murder mystery they’re both trying to solve?
Alexa PenaVega: I play Allie Adams. She is a wedding photographer, and at her friend’s wedding that she’s shooting, there actually ends up being a murder. From there, she ends up meeting Mr. Detective Sam Acosta.
Carlos PenaVega: I wouldn’t say he’s uptight, he’s just by the book. He’s a New York City cop now living in a really small town, so he’s got to get adjusted to the small town life.
Alexa: From there, she kind of gets in his way to try to solve who did this and who’s guilty, but through all of her pictures from the wedding and the different information she receives, she’s very much on board to figure out who did this.
What are Allie and Sam’s first impressions of each other, and how do those impressions change throughout the movie?
Alexa: For Allie, a lot is happening at once. This is not something she is used to, especially [since] it was her friend’s wedding, so I think she’s just really overwhelmed. She’s trying to make sense of it all, whereas Detective Sam is there to do his job. So I don’t think they really thought of each other very much.
However, the more and more Allie gets involved with the logistics of the case, she starts to get in Sam’s way. She starts to make some very valid points. She starts finding clues that he missed, and I don’t think he likes that very much. He really feels like his toes are being stepped on, and she gets annoyed with him because he is so by-the-book that they butt heads a lot but it’s fun to watch.
Carlos: Our relationship from the beginning is really cool because normally every Hallmark movie that we do, we’re always falling in love right away, and this one is the complete opposite. They butt heads from the beginning, but then as the story continues, they slowly start to realize that they have a lot in common, but in this first movie, it’s just not enough to get them to be like, “Oh, there’s something there.”
What makes each a good investigator and what do they admire and respect about the other’s way of crime-solving?
Carlos: Sam’s a great investigator because he is by-the-book, and the book may not be right, but there’s a reason why people do things a certain way in life. It’s because 90% of the time, it works, but I think he admires Allie’s sense of freedom, being free and opening up her mind to different scenarios. I think he really needs that in his life, which is why he’s open to, “Okay, cool, I’ll let you help me.”
Alexa: What makes her a good investigator is as a photographer, you really have to find special moments in the shot. It’s not just what’s in front of you. It’s about everything that’s in the surrounding area, finding unique things, and I think because she has that artistic eye, she’s able to look at a murder scene in a very different way than somebody else would approach it. She looks at it from the eye of an artist, so I think it gives her almost like a super-vision in a weird way.
But between her and Acosta, it’s not that he’s a bad detective because I think she admires his work, it’s that she wants him to think outside of the box a little bit more. For Allie, her brother is unfortunately one of the people who is a suspect at the wedding as the shooter, so she’s doing everything she can to protect her brother and prove his innocence.
Can you talk about the other characters we’ll meet in Allie and Sam’s lives?
Carlos: Nick’s my partner. Sam’s never had a partner before, so it’s, again, another new thing in this small town to have someone who he has to work with, and I think in the beginning, yes, he is very hesitant.
But there is something comforting knowing that you have this — Nick’s quite a bit older than Sam, so it’s like you’ve got this vet who’s been around, and even though the young guy, Sam, thinks that he knows more, those old timers always know the ropes, so I think it’s really fun to see. That dynamic is great, and then as they learn to work together, the banter and the connection between them, it’s really fun to watch, which I’m super-excited for everyone to see.
Alexa: Allie’s assistant, Noah, is awesome because he is [her] right-hand man. He’s there to support her, help her out, and he’s got so much humor and adds a lot of fun banter between the two of them. There’s a lot of fun comedy, there are some serious moments, and I think people are really going to like it.
If there is another movie, what would you want to explore for your character or each other’s character?
Alexa: Because Sam is new to this small town, I really feel like being able to watch Sam maybe open up a little bit more. We don’t know a whole lot about him. We don’t know what happened in New York, what made him leave New York, so I think there are a lot of unanswered questions that we all want to know the answer to about his life.
And the same thing with Allie. She had a bad relationship before; we don’t know a lot about what happened there. I think with her, she is just growing in her business and becoming more confident.
And there is a moment in the movie where Sam tells her, “You should step out of your shell and do what it is that you want to do.” Wedding photography was not something that she wanted to get into. She loves more of the artistic side of photography, and I’m curious to see if that develops more in future projects.
How do you think your Love at Sea or Enchanted Christmas characters would handle being in Picture Perfect Mysteries and vice versa?
Alexa: I feel like Love at Sea, we are such problem solvers in that movie that we would handle a mystery very, very well. Those characters worked so well together. They problem-solved. They made things happen. They were very creative. I think they’d be really good at it.
And Enchanted Christmas, I think that both would have probably a hard time solving a mystery, probably because there was already a lot of residual pain from different relationships, from the relationship that they had with one another.
And as far as putting Allie and Sam in those other two scenarios, it would be hilarious. Sam is just so uptight that I don’t know how he would fare on a cruise ship or at a big dance recital, whereas Allie could probably go with the flow a little better than Sam could.
Picture Perfect Mysteries: Newlywed and Dead, Movie Premiere, Sunday, June 16, 9/8c, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries