THE MAKEOVER, Feat. Julia Stiles, to Premiere 1/27 on ABC
The all-star cast for Hallmark Hall of Fame's "The Makeover" is led by Julia Stiles (Silver Linings Playbook, The Bourne Ultimatum), David Walton (New Girl, Happy Endings), Frances Fisher (Titanic, Unforgiven), Camryn Manheim (Ghost Whisperer, The Practice) and Georgia Lyman (Brotherhood, The Town). The original movie premieres on ABC Sunday, Jan. 27, 9-11 p.m. ET/PT.
Hannah Higgins (Julia Stiles) is a smart, driven education consultant. She's so driven she runs for Congress to advance the cause of education reform. Hannah's not a likable candidate, though; her elitism turns off Boston voters, big-time.
Hannah and her business partner, Colleen Pickering (Camryn Manheim) don't give up easily. Next election, they recruit a candidate - beer vendor Elliot Doolittle (David Walton) - who definitely is a man-of-the-people. His mother Allie (Frances Fisher) is the definition of "piece of work," as is his sister Bonnie (Georgia Lyman).
Elliot - whose thick South Boston accent masks considerable intelligence - is the polar opposite of prim-and-proper Hannah.
Hannah takes Elliot on as a "project." Pygmalion-like (modern day), if she can just teach him to speak like a gentleman, dress like a gentleman, comport himself like a gentleman... why he might become a gentleman, a gentleman who can run for Congress - and win.
Elliot and Hannah are about as oil-and-water as two people can be. But as Elliot becomes more "presentable" and Hannah becomes less "proper," could this be a match made in electoral heaven?
Interviewed on the film's set, in Boston, Julia Stiles says the romance between Hannah and Elliot is the heart of the movie. "They're an unlikely pair," says Stiles. "Yet almost from the start there's this subtle attraction between them. That's the key word: subtle. And that's what makes the relationship so much fun."
For David Walton, "The Makeover" is about "dreaming big, and fulfilling your potential." Also interviewed on the Boston set, Walton describes his character, Elliot, as "schlepping barrels of beer to watering holes all over the Boston area. He loves his work, but we see a glimmer of ambition in him. Then along come Hannah and Colleen. They see potential in Elliot, and thanks to them he sees potential in himself."
Director John Gray (Ghost Whisperer, Empire) says for him the movie is about transformation, and adds, "It's not just Elliot's transformation from regular working-class guy to someone who's a little more lettered and cultured. It's also about Hannah's transformation. She discovers her humanity during this movie."
Gray is impressed with what Julia Stiles brings to the role of Hannah. "Julia has this great ability," he says, "to bring humanity and vulnerability and warmth to everything she does. She's certainly doing that with her 'Hannah.' I'm thrilled we got her for this movie."
John Gray is also a fan of David Walton's work in "The Makeover." "David's able to capture and project Elliot's natural intelligence," Gray says. "He also brings great warmth to Elliot's character, as well as vulnerability, and likeability. You just like this guy."
The teleplay for "The Makeover" is by C. Jay Cox (Sweet Home Alabama, Latter Days). Christopher Morgan (Common Law, Memphis Beat) is the producer; Brent Shields (A Smile as Big as the Moon, November Christmas) is the executive producer, for Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, Inc.