Handstands & Magic Tricks with Chris McNally | Super Channel

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Handstands & Magic Tricks with Chris McNally

Handstands & Magic Tricks with Chris McNally

Friday, March 8, 2019

BY Desiree D

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As he picked up the coin that had landed at his leather shoe, Lucas Bouchard made quite an entrance. With an introduction comprised of a magic trick and a flashy smile, suspicions of this bearded businessman who had suddenly appeared in Hope Valley only grew. Unlike the folks in town, Hearties had been anticipating Lucas’ arrival, curious about this man of mystery and the direction of his story.

While the appearance of Chris McNally as the new saloon owner was expected, there was a dichotomy of intrigue and imposition from his character’s presence. The feelings of viewers spanned across a spectrum, unsure whether to trust this new man in Hope Valley or continue to question what he has up his sleeve. Chris warmly offered insight into his occupation as an actor, including his role in A Winter Princess, as well as unraveled a bit of the mystery behind Lucas Bouchard.

SC: You have had the opportunity to work on a number of Hallmark shows/movies. What draws you to take part in sharing these stories?

CM: Hallmark stories are fun and uplifting, and it’s nice to participate in projects that you know families can all enjoy together.

SC: Can you describe your audition process for When Calls the Heart?

CM: I initially auditioned in the US for Lucas, and then for Canadian casting as Nathan… Didn’t hear anything back about Lucas, but Hallmark pinned me for Nathan, and I had a fun chemistry read with Erin Krakow. Afterwards I was asked if I could stick around and give Lucas a go, so I stayed and read those with Erin as well, and in the end, Lucas is the character I was cast for.

SC: Were you familiar with WCTH and the Hearties fan base prior to auditioning?

CM: I’m originally from Vancouver so I was familiar with WCTH and have friends who have worked on it in the past and was aware of the Hearties, but I didn’t get a full idea of the fan base until I attended the HFR. I couldn’t believe how far some people traveled for the convention. The Hearties are truly dedicated fans.

SC: How did you find the experience of attending the Hearties Family Reunion?

CM: The Hearties Family Reunion was great! I enjoyed the “speed dating” part of it - each actor had 3 minutes to talk to each table before rotating to the next and it was a rush. You can cover a lot of topics in 3 minutes if you talk fast enough!

SC: Your character Lucas Bouchard is the new saloon owner in Hope Valley. What characteristics do you share in common? What has challenged you the most about this role?

CM: Lucas is protective over the people he cares about, and I feel like that’s something we share. We’re also both a little secretive when it comes to our personal lives. In terms of what’s been the biggest challenge - I’d say that’s been trying to learn magic tricks. Lucas has all these card tricks up his sleeve and some of them are pretty tough!

SC: How did you find the cast and/or set on When Calls the Heart different from previous shows that you’ve been on?

CM: The cast of WCTH made me feel extremely welcome when I first showed up. Most casts that I’ve had the chance to work with have been very friendly and kind, but I feel like the WCTH ensemble went above and beyond… and regarding the set - I found it different from others because we never really have location changes. Usually you’re constantly relocating to film in different places, but since Hope Valley is such an important part of the show, we get to work at the same set every day.

SC: Was there an actor on WCTH that you did not have the opportunity to meet or work with, but would have liked to?

CM: I would have loved to have some bigger scenes with Ben Rosenbaum - our characters have a couple exchanges in season 6 but nothing major. I just think Ben does such a great job playing Hickam… his scenes are always making me laugh.

SC: If you could take just one invention from present day back to the early 1900’s, what would you choose and why?

CM: That’s a great question. I think I’d have to say the washing machine and dryer combo. With all the dirt roads, dust and mud, I imagine it would be super satisfying to load your filthy clothes in the wash and then toss them in the dryer and kick back and relax until they come out warm and toasty!

SC: Do you think that Lucas’ wardrobe or Nathan’s (Kevin McGarry) wardrobe is more comfortable?

CM: I think Lucas’ wardrobe is more comfortable than Nathan’s. That red serge gets really, really hot on a warm summer day, and the laces on those Mountie boots that Kevin wears must take him ten minutes to do up every morning.

SC: At HFR you had mentioned that you enjoy having the horses on set. Can you share more about your riding experience and working with the horses in Hope Valley?

CM: Yes, it’s one of my favorite things! I loved having the horses on set and getting the chance to ride them… our horse wrangler was kind enough to take me out for lessons whenever we both had free time. My most exciting moment was when one horse was feeling testy and reared up on me… I felt like a cowboy for about three and a half seconds.

SC: You have posted pictures on social media of the puppies that you have recently adopted. Can you tell us more about them?

CM: Charlie and Bowie! They are brother and sister, and I love them so much… they’re really loving and affectionate dogs. Their litter was found abandoned in a Los Angeles parking lot, piled in a cardboard box. I did a DNA test and discovered they are something called a Pitsky - they’re mostly a Pit Bull Terrier and Siberian Husky cross, but there’s a little sprinkle of German Shepherd, Staffordshire Terrier and Collie mixed in there as well.

SC: When you are not working, how do you enjoy spending your down time?

CM: Well I love spending time with the dogs, and I also love getting out of the city and getting lost in nature. I try and escape for camping adventures whenever I can… I’m relatively new to Los Angeles, and there’s a ton of new terrain for me and the pups to explore and discover.

SC: “A Winter Princess” will soon air on Super Channel Heart & Home. How would you describe your character Jesse and what was the most enjoyable part of that role?

CM: Jesse’s parents were very successful entrepreneurs (founding a ski resort called Snowden Peak), and he feels intimidated by their legacy, so he’s moved away to forge a path on his own in Aspen. He’s compassionate and driven, and is on his own journey of self-discovery, which he ends up completing after his sister calls on him for help back at the family resort. I think what I enjoyed most about playing Jesse was how relatable he is to myself. We both walk through life with good intentions but are a little blind… and the answers we are looking for tend to be right in front of us.

SC: Can you share more about the set for “A Winter Princess” and where it was filmed?

CM: The set for A Winter Princess was pretty magical. We shot on location at a ski resort called Big White, which is about a four hour drive east from the WCTH set in British Columbia, Canada. It was a beautiful place to wake up every morning and head to work. Although the resort wasn’t open yet when we began filming, and my co-star Natalie Hall and I were the only people in our hotel for a little while… the staff hadn’t even arrived yet! She had one floor to herself and I had another… it had The Shining written all over it.

SC: Would you have a preference between filming a winter movie or another season?

CM: I love the snow so I’m happy filming a winter movie… but I also love summertime, so I’d be equally open to that as well. The only thing I want to avoid is filming a winter movie in the summer because they do do that, and walking around in scarves and mitts in July isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world! That being said, my favorite time of the year is fall, so that worked perfectly with the WCTH schedule. The Hope Valley set is a beautiful place to spend that season.

SC: What has acting taught you the most about yourself?

CM: I think the biggest lesson acting has taught me about myself is how to care less about what other people think. I used to be a pretty shy person and playing different characters who are vulnerable in front of other people has really helped me open up as a person.

SC: What would be your dream role as an actor?

CM: My dream role as an actor is always changing, but right now it would be playing a character in the Game of Thrones prequel which is currently in the works. I love that era and have always been fascinated by castles, knights, dragons, and magic… and, well, I think Jon Snow is just about the coolest hero ever.

SC: Any special skills that the Hearties should know about you?

CM: I can stand on my hands for a really long time. Don’t challenge me to a handstand competition unless you want to lose!

SC: Having grown up in British Columbia, would you have any suggestions of must-see attractions or favourite places for Hearties to visit?

CM: For sure! If you’re visiting Vancouver, I would definitely recommend the Capilano Suspension Bridge. It’s a great way to experience the natural environment and get a sense of southwestern BC nature. They also have a fantastic store up there with quality goods if shopping is up your alley!

SC: Can you share about any upcoming projects that viewers should keep an eye out for?

CM: Not yet… hopefully soon though!

SC: Whether you are intrigued by the bold Mr. Bouchard or have reservations about his true intentions, you are certain to agree Chris has done a wonderful job of creating mixed emotions about this mystery man. Ensure that you are following him on social media, as you don’t want to gamble on missing out on the latest about Chris or his characters.

Social Media
Twitter: @ChrisMcNally_
IG: chrismcnally