Talk Nerdy With Us had the chance to chat with Michael Nardelli about his appearance in Hallmark’s upcoming holiday movie Christmas in Homestead and also what makes him nerd out.
Since Hallmark Christmas movies are not typically filmed during the actual Christmas season, what did you do to prepare for your role in Christmas in Homestead?
(laughs) We filmed it as Halloween was starting up. So there were Hallow decorations, but we had to be in Christmas mode. I watched a lot of my favorite Christmas movies like Christmas Vacation, and It’s a Wonderful Life. That was pretty much it! I love Christmas movies, and it’s one of my favorite holidays, so it wasn’t too hard for me to be in that mode.
Did you listen to any Christmas music too? Or was that too soon?
Actually yeah, you’re right! I listened to a lot of instrumental Christmas music. And some Fred Astaire and Holiday Inn stuff. I love the Frank Sinatra album; it’s one of my favorites. Thank you for reminding me! (laughs)
I am a huge Hallmark Christmas fan. That’s pretty much all I watch when I come home from school. So I have to know, what is a typical day of filming a Hallmark movie?
A typical day with this particular one is interesting because we were shooting in Georgia. It was pretty hot out, so they had to lay down a lot of fake snow and dress the town up with Christmas lights. The town we were filming in looked just like a Winter Wonderland. They did a great job!
What was your favorite thing about filming a Hallmark movie?
My favorite part is that it was very light-hearted. I’ve done a lot of darker dramas lately. It was nice because a lot of these movies are very inspirational and capture the holiday spirit. It’s nice to be in warm Christmas clothes and seeing the Christmas decorations. It felt like being a kid again in this little winter wonderland we were filming in.
Your character Ian, he’s paparazzi. What’s it like playing that kind of character?
Well, he’s a paparazzo, not a paparazzi (laughs). It was interesting because I don’t think about paparazzi that much. You don’t get into the mindset of what their lives are life. He spends a lot of time at the beginning of the movie being on the outskirts of the action and trying to get the photo of the people who they’re trying to document. When we were gathered for rehearsals, we had the group of actors and the director was like ‘okay Michael; you’re in the background taking photos!’ It seems kind of like a lonely existence. They’re hiding out and the subjects they’re trying to photograph don’t want to be photographed. It’s a hard lifestyle choice.
For sure. So you’re a producer and an actor. Do you prefer one over the other, or are they both your passions?
I prefer acting; I love acting. I love playing different characters and learning new things, like this one, what the lifestyle of a paparazzo was like. That stuff is fascinating for me, taking on roles and living in other people’s shoes. That’s what I like to do the most. Then producing, it’s fulfilling. You’re putting something together and making it happen. But if I had to choose one over the other, I’d choose acting.
Switching gears to your new digital web series, Dark/Web. I see that you’re writing, producing and starring in it. Can you tell us a little bit about that project?
It’s a digital series that we’re making with Mario Miscione who remade Circle. It was a movie we made last year that sold to Netflix and has a cult following now. If you watch the news now, they’re a lot of storylines we have in the show. Like cyber care and how we’re always connected and sharing private information online and in the cloud and the roles that hackers play in our world now. And with the election how hacked emails [were] an important part of the election and how people are manipulating that. Dark/Web deals with a lot of that. It’s an anthology show. This is more in the direction of horror genre and sci-fi. It addresses the horrors of a really connected world. It’s a little scary! (laughs)
It sounds fascinating!
Yeah, it’s an 180-degree difference from a Hallmark Christmas movie.
I am excited to see that even though I am afraid of pretty much anything horror related. However, I want to check that out when it premieres. Switching topics to the organizations that you work with. Can you tell us about the work you do with P.A.T.H Organization and Autism Speaks?
The P.A.T.H Organization is something I got affiliated with probably two or three years ago. Basically what me and my friends do is try to do two to three move-ins a year. So many people have items in their house that they just don’t need. We’ll pull our resources together with the P.A.T.H Organization and find an apartment or a home and move-in a homeless family. They find a location and what my friends and I do is round up things that people don’t need and create a living space for families. They’re always really fun. It takes a lot of work to gather the materials and get everyone organized, but it’s super fun and rewarding. All the families we’ve met have been awesome, and it’s inspiring hearing their stories of what they’ve been through. It’s a beautiful thing to do!
You’re a bit of a sci-fi and comic fan which is evident in things that you’ve been in such as the Circle and Dark/Web. Have you ever been to a comic con?
Yes, definitely! The last time I went, we had a screening of Circle. It was fun, and I’ve been to about four or five cons. I want to go to Dragon Con. I want to go to the New York Comic Con. I want to go to them all! I’m a big nerd and a fan of that stuff.
Then I’m assuming you’ve been to San Diego Comin-Con.
Oh yes, but I didn’t go to the one that happened in 2016. So I hope to go this summer with Dark/Web.
That would be super awesome! Here at Talk Nerdy, we all have things that we geek out over. Is there something you geek out over beside sci-fi and comics? I’m going to challenge you on this.
Apple products! (laughs) Their new Mac Book Pro, I want it. I just got the big iPad with the pen. I geek out over that. Technology stuff which is sci-fi in a way. Also the virtual reality stuff; I’m interested to see where that medium goes. I also geek out over dogs.
What’s your favorite dog? Because I love dogs too, so I have to know.
I grew up with a bunch of Golden Retrievers. My childhood dog was a black lab. So that’s something I, not sure if I geek out over, but I’m more like ‘aww’ a black lab. (laughs) It’s a nostalgic thing for me. Right now I have two Labradoodles. They are crazy! But I love all dogs. I want to get a Great Dane someday. Siberian Huskies are beautiful. When I was a kid I wanted a Saint Bernard because I liked Beethoven. I guess I lean more towards bigger dogs than smaller dogs. What kind of dogs do you love?
My family has a 20 pound Chihuahua, so I adore them. Basically all of them, though.
Awww. Yes, all dogs!
You can see Michael in Christmas in Homestead premiering on Hallmark Channel November 24!