EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – Sophie Bastelle Teases ‘funny, special, wholesome’ Story on Hallmark’s Welcome to Valentine! – WATCH

sophie bastelle welcome to valentine

Kathryn Davis and Markian Tarasiuk will star in “Welcome to Valentine” a new, original movie premiering Saturday, February 18 (8 p.m. ET/PT) on Hallmark Channel. We at Survived The Shows had the pleasure of chatting with actress Sophie Bastelle about her experience in the making of the movie and what fans can expect. Check out the full interview below!

Sophie Bastelle

What’s the main element in Tess’ character and the movie in general that fascinates you the most and drew you to join Welcome to Valentine?

SOPHIE BASTELLE: Tess is just so endearing and fun – she’s kooky, she’s clever, and she dreams big. She has no filter and is extremely dramatic, but she’s also sincere and generous, which was a juxtaposition I loved getting to play with. I was drawn to the project because the movie really is reminiscent to me of an early-2000s romcom. Best friends living together in the city have to go separate ways, which throws the one who’s down on her luck into a road trip with a guy who seems like her complete opposite. Throw in a quaint small town and some vibrant personalities, too. There’s something definitely that feels different about Welcome to Valentine.

Where are you and Tess most similar and where most different as human beings?

I have a very similar sense of humor to Tess. And I really relate to the fierce, loud unapologetic way that she loves, and the vibrant ways she likes to show people that she cares. She is also an actor, like me – which, as you’ll see, is part of the reason the story takes off in the first place. We differ the most in our clothing stye (you can usually find me in neutral colors and simple designs, whereas she has a very cool, 70s-inspired, extremely colorful and lively way of dressing) and also in our conduct at work. You’ll see a couple of different times that she lets her enthusiasm or self-centred needs get in the way of her doing her job!

What’s been the biggest challenge for you in portraying Tess?

The biggest challenge for me in portraying her was her boundless, constant, frantic ENERGY. I’m more reserved as a person, generally, so I had to continue to remind myself on set to talk louder, talk faster, be even more excited, because Tess has absolutely no chill.

To all the fans looking forward to watching the movie, how would you describe Welcome to Valentine in just 3 words?

Three adjectives: Funny, special, wholesome. / Three nouns: Art, family, milkshakes.

What can you tease about Tess’ and journey throughout the movie?

Tess is actually the reason that Olivia, her best friend, loses her apartment at the start of the movie — and she also comes up with the solution that puts Olivia and George, her cousin, on the road together. She ends up having to say goodbye to both her best friend and her cousin, but when we think we’ve seen the last of her – we haven’t, yet!

Talking about the environment on set, how would you describe your experience while filming Welcome to Valentine and do you have any fun anecdotes to share?

One that comes to mind is that we spent several days shooting the art gallery scenes that you’ll see at the beginning of the movie – the art department set up this incredible fake gallery in an empty storefront along Sparks Street, in Ottawa – and we actually had a man come in while we were shooting and ask where he could buy a ticket to visit the gallery!

The energy on set was wonderful – Nearly all of my scenes are with Kathryn Davis and Markian Tarasiuk, who are fantastic actors and wonderful people, and I loved getting to know them. I also had worked with many of the crew a month prior, on Hallmark’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and I felt welcomed back into the fold with open arms; they are such friendly and talented and beautiful human beings.

If you could choose any other character from Welcome to Valentine, apart from Tess, that you would have loved to play, which one would it be and why?

Honestly – this role isn’t quite my demographic, but I love Miss Hackey and how ruthlessly snarky she is. I’ve never gotten to play a ‘mean’ role, so I think that’d be fun – and what’s great about Miss Hackey is you ultimately realize that there’s a heartfelt reason behind her snippiness, which really humanizes her and endears her to audiences.

Did you take anything from set, any prop or piece of costume, to remember your experience as Tess?

I did take Tess’s leopard print socks, which you’ll catch a glimpse of in the first scene of the movie. I really tried hard to take the gorgeousfuzzy rainbow bomber jacket that you’ll see me wear at one point in the movie, but no dice!

Throwing back to the origins of your career, how did the passion for acting come about in your life?

I’ve been a performer since I was a kid – I started out dancing but quickly stopped once I became old enough to realize I’m terrible at dancing. But fell in love with theatre at an early age. I was lucky enough to attend one of the United States’s top high schools for drama and music. And got to perform at Carnegie Hall, Disney World, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

I continued acting on stage in university in Montreal and began directing as well. When I graduated I knew I wanted to be involved in the arts somewhat. But I wasn’t sure how, per se – so I worked for several months as a reporter at the Toronto Star. And then as a production coordinator in advertising, and then as a publicity manager at a PR firm.

Ultimately I landed a job as an assistant in commercial casting. And one day, when I was signing people in for a Coca-Cola audition, my boss asked me to go in and audition. I ended up going through several auditions with them, and was their final pick, but the ad ended up being scrapped before it was filmed. I had so much fun in the audition process. And though I was at that point several years out from having done any acting, I had a special kind of knowledge now about the industry, and agents, and the casting side of things. And figured I’d try to find an agent. I got an agent in February 2020, right before everything shut down temporarily because of the pandemic.

Sophie Bastelle

Among all the roles you’ve had the chance to play throughout your career, is there any particular role you’re most fond of?

I filmed a Christmas movie last year in which I was playing a very-irritating and over-zealous woman at a speed dating event. I was working with the director I’d worked with on my very first movie, and got to really play with comedy. The rest of the cast were very inspiring in that they firmly and respectfully advocated for their characters and for their storylines and facilitated a warm and open environment on set.

It encouraged me to go all out in improvising and in building a hilarious and weird set of personality traits for my character. And a brief mention for the role I shot a few weeks ago in an indie film – it’s a dark drama and I played a troubled, dangerous, money-hungry girl at the mercy of her boyfriend and his illegal dealings. A completely opposite project tonally from what I’m used to, but it was a really exciting challenge to put myself in a different set of shoes. Funnily enough, both of those roles were named Vanessa.

If you had to give some advice to people who want to pursue an acting career, which kind of advice would you give them?

I’d say welcome to the beautiful chaos! My number one thing is you have to continue to nurture other interests, passions, and hobbies in your life. Not only will it allow you to give nuanced performances. But it also provides you with other sources of creativity and validation when things are slow or disappointing in acting. (and they will be – no matter who you are, you go through busy periods and not-so-busy periods!).

Acting should never be everything in your life. And it sounds so incredibly cliche – but you have to be yourself. It’s almost counterintuitive – “how can I be me when I’m playing a character who isn’t me?”. But the people watching your auditions want to see how who you are humanizes that character. They want you to be proud of who you are outside of that project or that role. That confidence will radiate through the screen without you even having to try.

The interview with Sophie Bastelle has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

Welcome to Valentine, with Sophie Bastelle, premieres Feb 18 on Hallmark Channel. Get a preview here below!

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