On November 5, GAC is airing A Royal Christmas On Ice, starring Anna Marie Dobbins and Jonathan Stoddard. We at Survived The Shows had the pleasure of chatting with Anna Marie Dobbins & Jonathan Stoddard about their experience in the making of A Royal Christmas On Ice and what fans can expect from the movie.
What’s been the main element in Abigail and Prince John ‘s characters and the movie in general that fascinates you the most and drew you to join A Royal Christmas on Ice?
Anna Marie Dobbins: “I think it’s one of those, you know, classic love stories that as a child, you know, you grow up with and it’s like that fairy tale. It’s that nostalgic feeling of like you want to snuggle up on the couch and watch a good movie. Just one of those, like, heartwarming films. So I was like, I want to do this. It’s something that everybody can watch all ages. It comes out on the best time of the year, Christmas. Why would you not want to be a part of a Christmas film that’s going to always be played and remembered?”
Jonathan Stoddard: “Absolutely, exactly there. It’s just a feel good kind of movie. I mean, I just got the visual of sitting on the couch as well. But the other really fun part about this film for me was that there were a lot of people that I knew were working on it. I had also heard a lot about Anna Marie. And so people were like, ‘Oh, she’s doing it’, and ‘Oh, this movie is going to be amazing’. And you’re doing it, and you guys haven’t worked together yet. So it was really fun, the hype going into it, beyond the script, because there was so much love and support for making it.”
As we know quite well so far, GAC movies and shows always feature some well-shaped characters and relatable storylines for the audience. In your opinion, where are you and your characters most similar in real life, and where are you most different?
Stoddard: That is a wonderful question. I’ll say the first things that come to mind in terms of similarities are his gregariousness, his assertiveness, his being proactive. In the opening of the movie you’ll see his interest with this hockey team and it not working out the way that he wanted to. So then he gets the idea that he’s going to go to the United States and then that’s kind of how the story unfolds and going after his dreams. That’s something that I mean anyone who knows me throughout my life, no one’s ever said like ‘you should really speed up’ or everyone’s like, ‘no, slow down, you’re going after everything’. I don’t know, that’s a really big similarity. I’m not quite sure of the differences because we are both Princes, of course. I don’t know. I’m gonna have to think about that.
Dobbins: So while she’s a figure skater, and even though I’m not a figure skater, I had a double. Thankfully she was fabulous. She made me look great. But I grew up a dancer and so that was fun, being able to incorporate a little bit of dance. And you know, I knew how to hold my body. And so we were able to do some cool shots where I was able to kind of dance on the ice in tennis shoes. They used my upper body and they were able to cut it seamlessly with the double. So it was fun to be able to integrate dance in a different way.
I feel like we are similar in a lot of ways.
As far as like, you know, she teaches kids. I still teach kids dance, she teaches kids figure skating. She’s really involved in the community. I really like to be involved in my community. So there’s a lot of similarities there. I mean, obviously the difference is I’m not a professional figure skater. There was many times I’ve busted it on the ice. So there’s that.
How would you describe A Royal Christmas On Ice if you had just three words?
Dobbins: Family, fun, romance.
Stoddard: I was thinking warm. Like heartwarming, fun and love.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you in portraying Abigail and John?
Stoddard: Well, I would say the two oddly equal challenges were the accent and the ice skating. This was the first movie where the entire character had to be in a different accent. And that’s something that of course, as an actor, the first time you do anything, there’s a lot of self doubt. There’s also a very interesting thing in film where there’s truth and not authenticity, and then there is entertainment.
So I studied by watching the Crown and doing all that studying royal communications so much.
And part of the challenge is I got there and I was able to do it so well that they were like ‘actually take back’ because royal they they stumble and they mumble their words so much and they were like ‘we can’t actually really understand what you’re saying’. So it was like ohh OK, I have to make these adjustments.
And then as Anna Marie was saying, the ice skating.
So you would imagine that there’s going to be some ice skating and you’d never know what the director wants to get for a shot. So showing up and then having him go like, hey, can you do a triple Axel? And you’re like, no. And trying to navigate our way through that and then seeing what we could do while saying the lines and acting. Those are the biggest challenges and they were also the biggest rewards.
Dobbins: Obviously the challenge was the skating because that was hard. But I would say a challenge for me is that’s the first time I’ve actually ever shot in real snow and really cold temperatures. I’m from the South and now I live in LA, so me and cold weather are not a thing. I had so many hand warmers and places. It was a lot. Not only were we in Buffalo, NY, which was freezing, it was February, there was snow. It was like right after a blizzard had happened and then we were shooting on ice rink.
So the whole movie I was just like, I’m so cold, I just want to thaw out.
So for me it was like the environment was different and challenging. I was trying to get used to that and then of course the ice skating and trying to act in ice skating.
The interview with Anna Marie Dobbins and Jonathan Stoddard has been edited and condensed for lenght and clarity. Watch the full video interview at the top of the article!
A Royal Christmas on Ice premieres Nov 5 on Great American Family Network. Watch an exclusive preview below!
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