Brennan Elliott Previews His Breezy Hallmark Channel Summer Flick, 'All Summer Long'
Set sail for romance in All Summer Long, a Hallmark Channel rom-com premiering Aug. 24 and starring Brennan Elliott and Autumn Reeser.
Reeser plays Tia, an overworked Seattle lawyer who visits San Francisco to see the Pacific Yellowfin, a vintage yacht her aunt and uncle have turned into a dinner cruise ship. Tia is an experienced sailor and agrees to captain the boat for the summer but is shocked when she discovers that her ex-boyfriend Jake (Elliott) has signed on as chef. Although their relationship ended abruptly a dozen years prior when Tia went to law school and Jake left for culinary school at the Cordon Bleu, once they’re in close quarters, they discover that a second chance at romance might be on the horizon.
When TV Insider spoke with Elliot, who also executive produces the film, he took us below decks and shared a few on-set secrets about the film that he calls, “An easy, breezy, summer romance. And that's what summer movies all are supposed to be.”
Tell us about All Summer Long ...
Brennan Elliott: It’s all about a second chance at love. About freedom and finding your heart and your inner-voice and accepting yourself for who you are physically, mentally and spiritually. And you got to go with your gut and your heart and do what makes you happy.
For Jake, he's really looking to be able to have his own voice, to be able to have control of his own cooking. But at the same time have the freedom where he doesn't have to just drill himself to death and listen to some boss screaming at him to make a thousand dinner meals every night. He's got to find some happiness. And for him, the one that got away was Tia. They come back together in a time when she’s not happy in her legal career and is realizing her dream of captaining her own ship. So after all these life experiences, maybe this is the right time for romance. But we've got to work through a whole lot of baggage before that happens.
How was the shoot complicated by filming on a boat?
I had never shot on a boat before. So when I got on the boat, we're shooting scenes in a tiny kitchen and you're not drinking enough water. And it was 110 degrees and I remember getting dizzy and feeling really hot but thought nothing of it. Then I remember one of the crew guys looked at me, he's like, "You're looking a little … You all right, bud?" I said, "Yeah, I just kinda feel a little lightheaded." I ended up going to the doctor the next day for dehydration because I hadn't drunk enough water!
Plus, in every scene, you're rocking back and forth. Even if the boat is anchored, you're still feeling the waves and the water. So you're trying to adapt and just include that in the scene. Which was always interesting. Luckily, no one got seasick!
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How did you prepare to play a chef?
Yeah, I've never played a chef ever. It was a very different role for me, so I felt the need to maybe meet a real chef. So Adam Sobel, who owns about 40 restaurants across the world, and owns a restaurant called Cal Mare at the Beverly Center, was kind enough to give me a whole day and night of hanging out with him and seeing how that world works.
He told me a lot of the ins and outs of life as a chef: they work 20 hours a day, they don't have a social life, they're always eating because they're trying all the food, they drink at night, and it's a very stressful, especially when you're a top chef who runs a restaurant. And that’s what we based Jake on.
What did Chef Sobel tell you about being a chef?
One of the things he had told me was, "What I do is not a lot different than what you do, it's just I use different ingredients." I said, "What do you mean?" He goes, "Well, my job is to take things that are ingredients, put them on a plate and it gives people sustenance, nutrition and happiness. Your job is to take your emotions, which are your vegetables, your meat, maybe your emotions, your personal experiences, and create a character that feeds an audience. It gives them entertainment and makes them feel good." I found that really deep and profound. That parallel — that we share a passion to create something to give satisfaction an audience — gave me a hook into who chefs are, and who Jake is.
Even though you’re not a chef, what’s a dish that you make that you think is pretty fantastic?
When I was a struggling artist and I would have friends over for a dinner, I made a really, really mean spaghetti. It was really, really good. I'm not going to give any secrets away — it's been a while since I've made that — but yeah, you’d come in, eat, and leave with a heart attack. It's a hearty, hearty dinner.
I also made a really good grilled cheese because I love grilled cheese sandwiches. And that’s actually in the film, it's an inside out grilled cheese. Which will probably be trending once the movie airs, everybody's going to want to bite into one of those. It’s really delicious. It's an inside-out grilled cheese with this cheese on the inside and crisping on the outside. It’s kind of in the film as a little bit of a joke, but it is pretty outstanding.
How does the experience change when you’re executive producing a film in addition to acting in it?
Obviously, my focus will always be as an actor. But when you're an executive producer as well, you can collaborate with the other producers on casting, on the writing, on notes and even shots, telling the story. You take it a little more personal and you're more hands-on with everything about it. As opposed to just your own role. I enjoy that.
It’s also a position where you can make sure that everyone working on the project is having a good time. Happy crew, happy you.
You mentioned that working as a producer allows you to have a say in casting. Tell us about casting and working with Autumn.
The late Michael Ogiens, who was an executive producer who took me under his wing, was a producer on the original All of my Heart. He had done a movie called Country Wedding with Autumn and Jesse Metcalf and sang her praises. So I've always heard good things about her and was very excited to get a chance to work with her.
And then working with her, I found her to be an incredible mother, artist and a professional actress. She's a really grounded person who has perspective on life and is spiritually connected in her own way that I really admired about her. She's just a really good person who's got her perspective right and knows what's important for her in life. I think our scenes together are fantastic and she was great to work with.
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Which scenes made you really laugh?
There's a scene with Peter DeLouise — our film’s director, but who’s also an actor — and his wife. I'm trying to get a job with them, so I'm showing them all these dishes I've made. There were about 15 or 20 dishes, and they have to try them. What you see on the screen is them biting into one or two dishes, but you'd be surprised how much they had to eat that day. It was really funny!
And then with Autumn, there was a scene where we're trying to hit a buoy in the water with pebbles. It’s a just a brilliant scene, one I think I'd love to have on my reel. It was just so much fun to shoot, and to be honest, you won't see it in the finished film, but she kicked my butt in that pebble-throwing game! She hit the buoy three times in a row and I couldn't have hit that thing if I had a beach ball and it was the side of a barn and I was a foot away from it. I went, "What are you, a pitcher in the major leagues?!? You're hitting it all the time!"
All Summer Long, Saturday, Aug. 24, 9/8c, Hallmark Channel