Peter Facinelli's Valentine's Day gift to wife Jennie Garth? 'Accidentally in Love'
Published: Saturday, February 12, 2011, 3:24 AM
The new made-for-TV movie “Accidentally in Love” is big-hearted and sweet and family-friendly and a good fit for a cable network sprung from a greeting-card company, a description not intended as derisive or dismissive.
This is the season for words of love expressed in plain language.
And maybe the most romantic thing about the film is that a husband wrote it for his wife.
That the husband is Peter Facinelli, currently working in Louisiana on “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” in which he reprises the role of Carlisle Cullen, makes it even more interesting. His wife, and the star of the movie, is “Beverly Hills 90210” star Jennie Garth. They have three daughters.
In the movie, which debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday (February 12) on the Hallmark Channel, Garth plays a single-mom widow who meets an actor who doesn’t exactly love his job as a kiddie-TV rabbit. The cast also includes Ethan Erickson (“Melrose Place”) as the actor, Fred Willard (“Modern Family”) as his agent and Marilu Henner (“Taxi) as her mother.
“When my kids were younger I dressed up like the Easter Bunny one year and hopped around the yard,” Facinelli said, during a recent break from filming “Breaking Dawn.” “I got real sweaty and got real tired quickly, and I started thinking. My daughter watched a lot of Barney at the time, and I started thinking, ‘I wonder what that guy’s life is like, inside that suit?’ And I thought, ‘What if he hated kids?’ It made me kind of laugh.
“I wanted to explore what that person’s life would be like inside that suit, and if he was miserable, what could be the keys to make him realize that life wasn’t so bad.
“I thought it would be fun to have a guy who needs to realize his life isn’t so miserable, and having a woman who has a lot of fear about a relationship, and how meeting this guy could make her vulnerable and be able to love again. The rest of it just kind of fell into place.”
Facinelli said he had Garth in mind for the lead from the beginning.
“I knew she could be funny in it,” he said. “I knew she could be quirky in it. I knew she could have the heart for it. The character reminded me a little bit of Jen in that respect. When I wrote it, I always thought of her playing it.”
Facinelli, who’s also a cast member of the Showtime series “Nurse Jackie” and has had roles in the series “Damages,” “Six Feet Under” and “Fastlane,” describes the writing process as “meditative.” He’s written two other scripts in addition to “Accidentally in Love.” One of them, “Loosies” is about a New York pickpocket. It filmed last summer and is due for a release later this year.
“It’s one of those things where if have an idea I’ll sit down at the computer and let it go,” he said. “It kind of writes itself in a way.
“It’s very surreal, especially watching ‘Accidentally in Love’ and going to the set, because I had an idea in my head and all of a sudden these people were working to make that idea come to life. I came to the set and someone had made the bunny suit. I was like, ‘This all came from a thought I had in my head, and hundreds of people are making this thought reality now.’
“You live with it so long in your head, and you see these characters in your head and then these actors come in and they make it their own. It’s so much fun to watch them say your lines. You think, ‘Wow, that worked.’ It’s almost surprising in some ways.”
Facinelli said his family came to Louisiana from their Los Angeles home for a visit right before Christmas, and were charmed by New Orleans via a French Quarter carriage ride and a stop at Café du Monde.
“We had a good time there,” he said. “It’s just such a sweet city. You feel the history there when you’re walking around. So much culture, and the food is great, and the people are great, and the music’s good.”
Facinelli said he and his wife experienced what many stars experience here, which is the locals’ polite, reserved, non-spazzy appreciation of visiting celebrities.
My theory about why this is so is that our rock stars are tuba players.
His theory: “Everyone here is performing,” he said. “We’d go on the street and there were so many street performers. Everyone’s a celebrity in their own right here. Even some kid who’s tap-dancing on the sidewalk – they’re all artists. I have a great respect for all of them.”