Though Biltmore Estate has hosted plenty of film crews, its partnership with the Hallmark Channel is a first.
Biltmore’s first-ever holiday movie “A Biltmore Christmas” wraps on filming this week. But before the elves pack everything away, the AVLtoday team had the chance for a behind-the-scenes visit at the snowy film set.
Here’s everything we know about the film so far.
Where they filmed
According to producer Andrew Gernhard, the film’s screenwriter Marcy Holland worked with Biltmore to craft an intimate understanding of the Estate and wrote the script with certain locations in mind.
“A lot of times when we film these Christmas movies, we have to limit our shots because often we film in the summer and have to add CGI snow,” said Gernhard. “But because it’s winter and everything is so gorgeous here you can almost shoot anywhere. Every place has something magical to it, whether its the Conservatory, the inside, the main hall, even the front grounds.”
Of the 15-day film schedule, 13 days have been allocated to Biltmore, with about a week inside Biltmore House and the rest of the time in the gardens, along the Estate’s exterior, and on the outskirts of the property.
“It was important for us to showcase the first floor of the Biltmore house,” said Travis Tatham, Biltmore’s Director of Destination Entertainment and Events. Tatham also shared that George Vanderbilt’s library, the Tapestry Gallery, entry foyer, Winter Garden, and Banquet Hall saw the limelight, as well as the Conservatory and The Inn.
In order to safely film, Tatham explained, many historical objects within the house had to be “checked out,” logged, and then carefully brought back in. “As big as the house is, it becomes very small when you put all the film equipment inside... there’s a lot of moving parts to make sure everything stays safe.”
The production team has also been spotted by Ashevegas at the Capital Center in downtown Asheville. And The Asheville Daily Planet reports that the crew will film at Hendersonville’s historic train depot on Friday, Jan 27.
Unlike other moves that have filmed at Biltmore (think: Forrest Gump, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Swan), the Estate will play a crucial, albeit inanimate, character in the story. “The house is treated almost as one of the lead actors in the movie,” explained Tatham.
The movie stars actor Bethany Joy Lenz as modern-day screenwriter Lucy Collins, who’s been hired to rewrite the script of a holiday movie that was originally filmed at Biltmore House in 1947. When touring the house for research, she knocks over a “beautiful hourglass” and suddenly finds herself transported back to 1946 when the original “His Merry Bride!” was preparing to film.
Without giving too much away, it’s here that Lucy meets the 1940s-era lead actor Jack Huston (played by Kristoffer Polaha) who may very well be her soulmate. What unfolds next is a journey through time that challenges the boundaries of love and Christmas spirit.
How and when to watch
Gernhard shared with us that some of the footage is already in post-production, but we won’t be seeing anything major until the end of the year.
The movie is one of 40+ holiday flicks that the Hallmark Channel is producing for next season, all of which are slated for release next holiday season during Hallmark’s 2023 “Countdown to Christmas.”
While no official release date has been announced, we’re expecting it to appear on the Hallmark Channel sometime in November.