Hendersonville – A Hallmark romantic adventure set in 1946 is being filmed during this month at the sprawling Biltmore Estate, with a one-day shoot at Hendersonville’s Historic Train Depot on Friday, Jan. 27.
Hallmark’s made-for-television movie is entitled A Biltmore Christmas. Plans are to air it on the Hallmark Channel in the 2023 Christmas season. Extras were recently chosen from around 8,000 applicants, according to The Casting Office, Inc. website. Filming began on Jan. 9.
“We know fans will love being transported back in time,” Hallmark Media Senior V.P. for Development and Programming Samantha DiPippo stated. “The iconic, beautiful Biltmore Estate is the perfect setting to help fans get into the holiday spirit.”
The Biltmore House is the world’s largest privately-owned home. The 255-room chateau has 35 bedrooms. It opened in 1895 as George Washington Vanderbilt’s home. Richard Morris Hunt designed the mansion. Legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed the 75 acres of gardens.
Filming is off limits to the general public. The 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate is gated.
Hendersonville’s Maple Street by the depot and Hendersonville Rescue Mission will be closed to traffic entirely from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 27. A portion of Seventh Avenue and area sidewalks will be closed only during brief filming spurts lasting a few minutes and then will promptly reopen, according to a special event application by the production company. Hendersonville City Council approved it Jan. 5 on its consent agenda, after the city’s Special Event Committee recommended it on Dec. 20.
About 30 background actors are likely on a set at a time. Plans are to allow pedestrians to walk through the set between shots, to ensure pedestrians can easily access local businesses, and to hire experienced locals for much of the film crew.
Two prime filming vantage spots are at sidewalk in front of the depot and a parking lot north of it. Seventh Avenue will be closed to avoid modern vehicles getting into film shots. Instead, antique vehicles will be used, and at least some might come from local collectors.
A Biltmore Christmas co-stars Bethany “Joy” Lenz (Good Sam) and Kristoffer Polaha (Wonder Woman 1984). Lenz portrays Lucy Collins. Lucy is a screenwriter. Her task is to write the script for a remake of His Merry Bride!, which was originally filmed at Biltmore Estate in 1946-47. When touring the estate, Lucy accidentally knocks over a magical hourglass. That takes her back to 1946, the year after World War II ended.
Lucy is suddenly immersed into the original filming of His Merry Bride!, which sets off a chain of events and threatens the film production. The lead actor Jack Huston (Polaha) falls for Lucy, which redirects events. Does she continue to rebuff him to keep matters as they were, or pursue their romance?
Marcy Holland wrote the script for A Biltmore Christmas. John Putch directs. He directed The Poseidon Adventure remake in 2005, and American Pie Presents: The Book of Love (2009).
Polaha was in two recent hit films. He was in Jurassic World: Dominion, the second-highest grossing film of 2022, as CIA officer Wyatt Huntley. In Wonder Woman 1984 (2000) he was “handsome man,” the body seized by the soul of the late Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).
This is Polaha’s eighth Hallmark Christmas starring role since early 2016, when he co-starred in Daters Handbook with current Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle. Polaha was in A Dickens of a Holiday! in 2021. He and Jill Wagner co-star in Hallmark’s seven-part Mystery 101 TV series. Polaha had guest roles on Mad Men, Hawaii Five-O, CSI, and Castle. He portrayed RFK Jr. in 2005, in America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story. He turns 46 on Feb. 18.
A Biltmore Christmas is the eleventh TV film role for Joy Lenz, 41. Her many Hallmark Christmas specials include the romantic comedy Five Star Christmas in 2020. She played Amy Taylor on CBS medical drama Good Samin its sole season in 2022. Lenz had guest TV roles on Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She played The Fonz’s sassy girlfriend Pinky Tuscadero in the stage play Happy Days back in 2005.