Hallmark star wraps filming ‘U.S.S. Christmas’ in Wilmington, reflects on time on set

Interview with Trevor Donovan after filming on USS Christmas wraps up

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Filming on U.S.S. Christmas, a movie that is part of Hallmark’s annual Christmastime line up of movies, is wrapping up in Wilmington.

Trevor Donovan is one of the faces of the popular genre on the Hallmark Channel.

“I didn’t realize how many people watched movies during the holidays until I started doing them and getting recognized you wouldn’t believe the people,” he said. “I was at a NAPA Auto Parts in my hometown of Mammoth Lakes, California, which has 7,000 people, these bikers came in in their 50′s and 60′s with these gray beards and leather jackets and said "Marry Me at Christmas!”

After November, movie fans will know him for his role in U.S.S Christmas.

The cast and crew shot scenes on the Battleship North Carolina, along the Riverwalk and in various neighborhoods.

The movie turned late summer days in Wilmington into snowy scenes.

“The first week we were here it was well into the 90′s and there was snow all over the place and people walking around in sweaters and it was a strange sight but there’s something very nostalgic about Christmas decorations and snow on the ground and a white Christmas,” he said.

While those Christmas feelings are the same each year, filming this movie was quite different than any other project Donovan has worked on as an actor.

“The experience has been really bizarre,” he said. “The protocols to keep the entire cast and crew safe and COVID free, masks, shields and distancing, that’s a hard thing to do on set where there are 60 people in close quarters. It complicates the process.”

Donovan and the crew are tested several times a week for COVID-19.

That means the characters are safe for the snuggling scenes.

“Kissing scenes are still in there,” he said. “You can’t have a love story without one or two kissing scenes.”

Donovan hopes this year Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas” and its slate of 40 Christmas-time love stories will help people escape.

“The state of the nation, there’s a lot of stuff going around right now; so these happy feel-good Christmas movies are just what the doctor ordered,” he said. “The last 10 years, Hallmark has completely taken off in this genre. It’s very unexpected but the responses I get when people approach me and how happy this makes people, it feels good to be a part of something positive during a crazy time.”

U.S.S. Christmas will premiere Saturday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries as part of the channel’s “Miracles of Christmas” — an event similar to the flagship channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” where new holiday movies are debuted.

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