Like his new and mysterious character, Lucas Bouchard, on the sixth season of “When Calls The Heart,” actor Chris McNally gives just enough insight about his character leaving you intrigued to find out more. He shares that Lucas is “a bit of an onion, because he kind of peels away a layer or two every episode. It’s like you learn more about him as time goes on, but he’s pretty secretive and mysterious when he first gets to Hope Valley. That doesn’t sit well with some people, specifically, probably Bill, is the most suspicious. Why won’t Lucas say anything about his past? What’s he got to hide? That does become revealed later on, but I don’t think I can give it away.” He concludes that “in summary, I’d say he holds his cards close to his chest. He’s coming in with good intentions, but yet comes off as quite suspicious at the same time.”
Acknowledging that 2019 is a big year for McNally, with a 360 degree turn, he plays a very different character in the upcoming Lifetime TV film series, “Heaven,” based on V.C. Andrews’ book series of the Casteel family. In this film he explains that the show and his character are “all about explicit relationships and sleeping with the wrong person, and then having to deal with the consequences.”
He continues that “in “Heaven,” I play Cal Dennison, who’s a young writer; struggling novelist. He is sort of in a situation where he’s trapped by his wife in a way. I mean, he does love her, but she’s very controlling. She wears the pants. She’s the boss of the relationship and she decides she wants to adopt this teenage girl, who she then keeps inside the house as a prisoner as well. So Cal and Heaven form this bond because they’re both stuck inside and not allowed to leave. I think Cal finds out he has more in common with Heaven and Heaven shakes him up. Well, I don’t want to say shakes him up, but just inspires him. She inspires him to write. Then he’s like, “Yeah, I think I actually really, I care about this girl, and want to protect this girl.” Then he ends up falling in love with her, and that’s his big mistake.”
With so much varied and interesting material to work with, like many actors who approach their acting styles in different ways, whether it be through a muse or another method, McNally shares that although his characters are a bit contrasting, he finds that “some you click with and understand immediately. Then you get to pepper in your own instincts and choices, and create a more complex character. Then with the ones you don’t fully understand what makes them tick, and you have to sit down and think about it, dissect the script, and figure out what do they want, what’s in their way, what happens if they don’t get what they need, and what’s their past like. I find language helps a lot too; with the way the writer’s lay out the dialogue can give you a lot of insight into how this person speaks and where their energy is.”
Before we concluded our interview we asked Chris our classic “fun favorites” film style, and his answers are revealed in the Q&A below:
What was the first film you recall watching that led you to know that you were going to pursue acting as a career?
Chris McNally: “Mystic River” because Sean Penn has just been an inspiration for me. I always knew that I wanted to work as an actor, but I didn’t really know why. Then when I watched Mystic River, there was just something about him when he lost his daughter that just struck me in a really, like a way I didn’t really understand, but what I took from that is like, oh, but that’s how I want to be involved in stories that can do that, can have that effect. You know? It approaches a part of your humanity that everyone understands.
What are five movies you would not want to live without?
Chris: I don’t know why, but I want to say “Space Jam.” When I was a kid, “Space Jam” was really important to me. I have to say “Mystic River” because that one is a pivotal moment for me. What else? What else couldn’t I live without? Oh, man. There’s a lot. “Shawshank Redemption,” “Napolean Dynamite” and “The Karate Kid.”
Do you recall your first film that you purchased on VHS and, or DVD?
Chris: I remember “I Spy.” It’s with Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy. It’s not a great movie, but at the time when I bought it, I loved it; thought it was fantastic, like the best thing ever.
Do you have a guilty music or entertainment pleasure?
Chris: Well, lately, I watch these Australian guys on YouTube and they’re called “Four by Four Action.” They’re amazing. They’ve got so many episodes. They’re about 45 minutes to an hour long. And it’s just like, “All right, mate. Today, we’re heading up the Glasshead Mountains. It’s going to be crazy, mate.” (mimicking a very good Australian accent)
“When Calls The Heart” season six premiere airs on The Hallmark Channel, Sunday, February 24 at 8:00 PM/7:00C
Follow Chris’ updates and happenings on Instagram
Actor photo courtesy of Max Montesi