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A frosty affair with a prince

Christmas with a Crown was partially filmed close to St. Albert, and for a good reason.
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Director Dylan Pearce's new film was partially filmed in Sturgeon County. Ryan's Castle is the perfect venue for a royally romantic seasonal flick. VISION FILMS/Supplied


Christmas with a Crown

Stars: 3.0

Starring Lisa Durupt, Marcus Rosner, Teryl Rothery, Michael Lazarovitch, Diana-Marie Stolz, and Jesse Gervais

Written by Michael Varrati

Directed by Dylan Pearce

Unrated, but suitable for all audiences

Runtime: 87 minutes

Now Available on DVD, Video on Demand, and on various cable providers including Rogers, Bell, Telus, Shaw, and Super Channel

Whether you love the royalty or not, we can all agree: everyone loves holiday-themed romantic comedies. Now, there's a royally wonderful movie that has just been released for viewing on multiple platforms, and it's certain to leave everyone feeling warm and fuzzy like a pair of wool slippers.

Christmas with a Crown is director Dylan Pearce's spirited seasonal entrée that bears shades of Coming to America courtesy of the script by Michael Varrati. Pearce is no stranger to the rom-com as Christmas Cupcakes and A Frosty Affair (renamed from 40 Below and Falling) will attest, while Varrati is the, ahem, seasoned veteran of writing contemporary holiday-viewing fare with a filmography that includes A Christmas Mission, A Christmas in Vermont, Broadcasting Christmas, and A Christmas Reunion (coupled with genre variations such as Deathcember, the 'Der Krampus' of TV's History of Fright).

In this fun, frosty flick, Cassie (Lisa Durupt) is a successful businesswoman who returns to her hometown and works to try to save its Christmas festival. One of the volunteers is a handsome stranger. It seems that Prince Nicolas (Marcus Rosner) is having a spot of bother with his royal family and its many obligations. He escapes to live for himself, but can one ever escape their family, especially around the holidays?

I digress.

Crown is still every bit the cinematic confection you'd expect it to be and should make for enjoyable viewing for those who would press "play" on something new, as opposed to re-watching Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum in The Holiday Affair. Add to that how Pearce brought the filming to Edmonton and around St. Albert, thanks to Alberta's climate and Ryan's Castle. Located north of the Villeneuve Airport, the luxurious bed and breakfast was the perfect location for shooting scenes with royal characters.

At least the castle was reliable, Pearce explained.

"We were lucky we had snow. That was a big thing," he recalled.

"As for the filming itself, what was great was that Edmonton has always been a really film-friendly city. We worked with the ESIO [Edmonton Screen Industries Office]. They helped bring the film to life. We were able to make it Christmas on Whyte Ave. in the heart of the art space in Edmonton, which was great, too," he added, noting that the production team installed Christmas decorations at West Edmonton Mall, which explains a lot of the confused looks on the faces of many shoppers early last spring. 

For those and other reasons, the movie should have a built-in audience around the capital region, but Pearce was recently gifted a shout-out that brought it to the world’s attention, too. TV’s The Late Show host Stephen Colbert joked about people’s holiday traditions, which included a quick list of holiday films.

“That was quite a surprise. He's someone I watch all the time. Just to be poked a little bit by him is a dream come true. It was pretty, pretty great,” the director commented, obviously pleased with the mention, and certainly taking the road that no publicity is bad publicity.

“It was a wonderful experience for the cast and crew, and now we have a fun quote with him calling our film a 'soon-to-be, no doubt, Christmas classic' with his satire behind it. I thought it was great.”

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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