EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ryan Bruce Breaks Down Lifetime’s Mistletoe Match!


Elena Juatco and Ryan Bruce star in the Christmas movie Mistletoe Match, airing Sunday, December 3 at 8/7c on Lifetime Movie Network. We at Survived The Shows had the chance to chat via email with star Ryan Bruce and discuss the movie and his experience in the production. Check out the full interview below!

Can you tell us a bit about your character in Mistletoe Match?

Thomas is a widowed father who’s desperate to make sure his daughter isn’t as damaged by the passing of his wife as he is. He’s been abstinent since she passed, solely focused on raising his daughter and inspiring his young art-minded students to pursue their creative passions no matter how insecure they feel about them. His best friend, Alfie(Vas Saranga) thinks Thomas is in need of companionship and so talks him into trying out a match-making service that his own wife, Mia(Dianne Aguilar) has just started up.

Thomas goes to the event but is quite anxious about dating again. He serendipitously meets a woman who also doesn’t want to fully participate and so they make a pact to get through it together without fully committing to the process and using each other to that end. Of course, that plan doesn’t go to plan as they start to unknowingly grow feelings for eachother and complications mount.

What initially attracted you to your role in Mistletoe Match?

I had never played a father before, so I was interested in exploring what that defining role can mean to a person, how it changes and informs everything about their life. I also saw an opportunity in the script to play a character that is more expressive and comical than many of the characters I’ve been given the opportunity to play in the past and so I was interested in putting my physical/bombastic comedy chops to work.

What do you think makes the romance in the movie so special and captivating?

The romance begins as a friendship/partnership where both parties are using each other for their own selfish needs and neither are looking for or forcing romance to happen and so when it begins to happen naturally it takes both of them by surprise and therefore feels more authentic and true. I feel like “real” love often happens when people aren’t looking for it, and so has a feeling of destiny rather than someone trying to desperately control an outcome. These characters fall in love with each other despite themselves and so it’s fun to watch them struggle with their own egos and overcome their shortcomings to ultimately find happiness.

What do you hope audiences take away from watching Mistletoe Match?

This genre of movies are designed to be easy to watch and ultimately uplighting and so that was always the goal with this one, to entertain in a light and endearing manner. When someone goes to watch this kind of movie they’re usually wanting to escape their own complicated existences by watching other people struggle with their own and hopefully have a laugh or two and maybe it helps provide them with clarity on what they’re struggling to understand in their own lives. A couple laughs and a warm feeling in their souls would be a great achievement for any movie of this type. 

What was it like working with the rest of the cast on set?

This was a particularly great cast and crew. It was a group of very talented performers who were open minded and constantly being creative and so they brought more to the characters and the story than what most do. There was a lot of improv done which made the final cut and some good classic comedy tropes and gags which often don’t make it into smaller movies like these anymore, for lack of time and finances. The director and producers allowed the set to be a creative and warm environment and so that shows through into the final film. 

What can you tease about your character Journey?

I think I may have given most of this answer away previously, but I guess I would add that for Thomas it’s that his journey through the grief of losing his wife is something that still surprises him and dictates much of his emotional life. Even though he had thought he had dealt with it, time has not healed the scar as he hoped it would.

What was your favorite scene or moment while filming Mistletoe Match?

There was a moment when we were shooting the cookie making scene where Olivia and Thomas have a real heart to heart and just as we were shooting my coverage of that scene the sun was setting perfectly over Olivia’s shoulder and it felt like my wife was there and she was telling me it was okay that I move on, that I needed to move on. 

Can you tell us about any challenges you faced while filming Mistletoe Match and how you overcame them?

The main challenge with these movies are that they are done on an extremely small budget and short timeline. The whole movie was shot in 12 days and so that becomes the greatest challenge, lack of time. The goal for most of these productions becomes simply to get it done without overtime and so making it special or unique in any way becomes very difficult as those things usually cost more time and more money. It really becomes like trying to make a good meal when you don’t have anything left in the cupboards and you’re in a rush to get out the door to get to your job so that you can afford to buy groceries for tomorrow.

Knowing this, Elena(Olivia Hayes) and I made a pact between the two of us to try and get everyone that we worked with to take this movie more seriously than the other low budget jobs. We tried to slow down the chaos a bit and convince others that we were making something special and it was in that original partnership that we made that other creatives got to feel supported and inspired and so in turn they did the same. It’s about taking the time to care and making it important even though the outside world is telling you it’s not as important as a fancier big budget production.

Change of subject, What have been some of the most memorable projects you have worked on throughout your career, and why?

I’ve been lucky enough to work on a number of projects that I’ve enjoyed but at the top of the list is Let Him Go. It was a production that was top of its class in terms of professionalism and leadership. Few projects have good leadership in the entertainment industry unfortunately. A good producer is the most rare of all the jobs on a film set because it is a very difficult job that requires a very unique skill set that not many people possess. This project had that component really nailed down. The two leads, Diane Lane and Kevin Costner, took on producing roles as well and in conjunction with the director, Tom Bezuka, and the entire producing team made for a highly experienced and knowledgeable leadership that filtered down throughout the whole production. 

Can you tease something about your next projects?

 I have a few other movies of this genre that have been completed but are yet to air or are already making their rounds internationally, but we’re not given much information on when or where they’ll appear as the actors. If you follow my instagram account I try to post a notice on there if/when I find out. I’m also in talks about appearing in a new series for Netflix that I’m very excited about but can’t say more until it becomes official. 

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