Interview With Actor Andrew Dunbar, “Destination Wedding”

By Ruth on June 3, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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Yet again, I have connected with another Cedar Cove alumnus who has appeared in a wide variety of Hallmark films and more–Andrew Dunbar. In anticipation of Andrew’s supporting role in the upcoming Hallmark film Destination Wedding, he and I chatted about how he got started in the business, his thoughts about the various projects with which he has been involved, and even some about his production company he started a while back. Oh, and a special guest appeared towards the end as well.

RH: Andrew, so glad we could talk today.

AD: Good to be here, Ruth

Why did you decide to become an actor?

Well, in high school, I started doing plays for whatever reason. I just got into it, and I fell in love with doing these plays and I stopped doing so many sports. I enjoyed working with all the people who were doing the plays. It was great to work with them.

After high school, I wasn’t sure what direction to go. I decided to check out what was available, and I booked a ticket to LA. I had my backpack on {laughs},  I booked that one-way ticket, and I decided to go and check it out. I landed in LA and had no idea what I was doing. {laughs} I got off the plane and found a hostel on Hollywood Boulevard. I was seventeen, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do.  But it ended up being an amazing trip, and I met some incredible people. I got a manager and started auditioning for some stuff. I took a couple of acting classes. I partied–you know, doing things that a seventeen-year-old does.

After a little while, I started looking into programs at UCLA and also Vancouver Film School. I also applied to some film schools in Toronto, but I ended up getting into Vancouver Film School. So I went back up to Ontario, saved a little money, packed up my stuff and moved to Vancouver. And I’ve been here ever since.

You have the classic story that I don’t always hear. Young people often go to LA not knowing anything, but they lose interest or it ends up being a lot harder than they expected. But your story actually worked out. 

Oh yeah. It was exactly what I wanted to do. It hit all the beats I wanted for my life. I wanted to travel. I’m not sure if I really understood what I was doing or if I knew I wanted to be a part of this world, but everything worked out for me, and I really enjoyed it. It was definitely the right decision.

If I look on IMDB, it probably doesn’t have all of your works. It may not have all your independent things listed. But according to IMDB, it has Battlestar Galactica: Razor listed as the first thing you did. 

Yeah, I think that was actually the first thing I did as far as film and TV goes. At least, it was the first big production I did. It was pretty fun. I was running around with a machine gun. It was crazy sci-fi stuff. But it was Stargate Universe where I got to go to New Mexico.

from Stargate Universe

That was actually the next thing I was going to ask you about because it says you were on a few episodes of Stargate Universe

That was an amazing experience. I was eighteen. I booked the show, and we went to the White Sands Desert in New Mexico. It was an amazing place. We shot there because it looked like a desert or sand planet. Everybody was getting sunburned because it was white sand, and it reflects so much. It was also 35/40 degrees Celsius. We were chasing aliens around.

Stargate still has this amazing following after all these years. Before I started doing these interviews, I hadn’t even heard of the show, but now I’ve interviewed all these people who have been a part of it. That had to be an amazing experience, especially with it being so early on in your career. 

Yeah, I don’t think I really even knew what I was doing at the time. It was such an awesome group of people that had been working together for so long. It was a very special one for me.

from Supernatural

I know you’ve also been on Arrow and Supernatural. Those are always big shows too. What can you tell us about your experiences with those shows?

Supernatural was just one episode. The character’s name was Jake. It was a fun one. Those guys have been on that show forever. I think I pulled a knife and was supposed to go kill “the devil”–he was an awesome dude {Crowley, as played by Mark Sheppard}. But I got stopped from going in. It was a fun one. That’s another show that has a huge following. They even have their own conventions. Sci-fi and horror–which I started getting into last year as I started making some horror films–seem to have some of the most amazing fans. And it’s perfect because there are festivals and conventions designated for that genre. The only thing close to that are film festivals like Sundance, but those are specifically for movies, not a certain genre. These festivals bring amazing fans together, and I just love being a part of those kinds of things. It’s lots of fun.

from Garage Sale Mystery

Your first Hallmark thing was the original Garage Sale Mystery, right?

Yeah, I think it must have been. I played the detective on that one. Lori Loughlin’s character came to me, and we tried to solve the crime together. I was like the Doogie Howser of the film. They kept calling me Doogie. I was the love interest of Sarah Canning, who played Lori’s daughter.

After the original one, they went back and replaced several characters for the subsequent ones. 

After that first one, they decided to make this a series. They decided to replace the Doogie Howser-type character, and the detective became an older guy with a different style. I was actually just talking to Lori about that and Jonathan {Axelrod}, who was the executive producer on the first one. It was four or five years ago now. And now I’m in one of the upcoming Garage Sale Mystery films again.

Right! In fact, one of my friends saw Lori’s instastory and they asked me if there was someone from the original Garage Sale Mystery film that was in Lori’s video. And honestly, at the moment, I could not remember. And later it dawned on me that you were the original detective. I think it’s great that they brought you back in a different role. 

from Garage Sale Mystery

{laughs} Yeah, I know. Originally, my agent called me and said I had an audition for Garage Sale Mystery. And I shot him back an email saying, “I can’t. I was already in the first one.” And he was like, “Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot.” And a few days later, it was like, “Oh, they don’t care. Go ahead and do it.” At this point, it’s been long enough.

True. A lot of people won’t remember. And if they do, it’s not like a big deal. They do things like that in network series all the time. You fit the character. Actually, it looked like you were having a lot of fun.

Yeah, that day was like the big climax at the end. We were having a little fight scene, and it was fun.

I knew my friend, Sebastian {Spence} was going to be in this one, but I wasn’t saying anything because he hadn’t officially announced it. And then one of my friends sent me a message saying, “Hey, Ruth, I think I saw Sebastian in Lori’s instastory!”  And I was like, “What? I haven’t seen it yet!” So I said, “Yeah, I know he’s in that one, so you probably did see him.” 

I know I wasn’t sure what we were supposed to say or not say. We didn’t want to give anything away. But yeah, Sebastian was awesome. He’s great to work with. We worked together during Cedar Cove along with Sarah {Smyth}, and we hadn’t seen him in a while.

Yeah, I was going to ask you about Cedar Cove. What season were you in?

It was the third one.

Oh, yeah, that’s right. And then, of course, it got canceled. 

Yeah, it wasn’t good for us, but Sarah was obviously working on it and wanted to go back. And we were trying to tie in having our son between seasons. But because the show got canceled, it worked out well for her.

Then we saw you in the third Gourmet Detective film.

Yep, with Dylan Neal, another cast member from Cedar Cove. Do you know if they are still making those?

Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media

Yes, last I heard, Dylan was writing the fourth one, and they’re supposed to do it this summer or fall. Brooke Burns just had a baby. But they got the okay to do another one. And then, of course, we got to see you in When Calls the Heart. Hearties are going to want to know–how did you get involved with that show?

I think I had auditioned a couple times before this role came up. When the role of Dale Kellog came up, I auditioned and got it. And I got to hang out on that set and do some pretty cool stuff. I learned to ride a horse and shoot guns. That whole set and crew have worked together a long time. They’re a tight-knit family, and it’s awesome. Minus the weather a few of the times. It was a weird winter. It was such an awesome experience. Did I mention learning to ride a horse? That was the coolest part.

Andrew Dunbar, Jeremy Guilbaut Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States 

And you were already such a part of the Hallmark family by the time you got on that show. Sometimes people come in, and it’s their first real experience with Hallmark. But we’ve seen you in a number of things, and they kinda know you, so I’m sure that helped. 

And I played the bad guy. I had played a bad guy back when I was in Arrow. I do enjoy playing a bad guy. It’s fun to do that.

Of course, I don’t know if there’s any chance we’ll see you next season.

Yeah, we were in Mexico with Andrea {Brooks} while season four of When Calls the Heart was finishing. She was tweeting with the Hearties and letting them know about what we were filming down there. She was even doing some periscoping.

Yes, that was one of the periscopes I saw. I saw you. You were sitting there.

Yeah, I was sitting there sipping a beer in Mexico. That was a pretty awesome job.

That had to be amazing for you to get involved with Destination Wedding down in Mexico. I know Hallmark has started doing these “destination” movies. They had one in France. And now they had one in Mexico. I know Andrea hinted at this film before she could say anything, and she was hoping to be a part of it. And as it turned out, she did.

{laughs} That was the Hallmark lottery, so they say. Everybody wanted that job.

I can imagine. And you just happened to be the right person they were looking for. 

Yeah, I loved it. That was pretty awesome.

Andrew Dunbar, Andrea Brooks, Jeremy Guilbaut, Alexa Pena Vega Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Jeremy Lee

What can you tell us about your role in Destination Wedding without revealing too much?

Well, I play the groom. Andrea plays my bride-to-be. We are going to Mexico to get married. Our friends are there already. There’s a little complication before our wedding. We show up late, and that is basically the conflict of the movie. Are we going to get married or not? I don’t think I should tell you the rest.  And then Jeremy {Guilbuaut} is in it, and he was my buddy on When Calls the Heart. And this is his first lead role with Hallmark. He’s the best man, and Alexa PenaVega is the maid of honor. Alexa is so awesome.

I’m sure you two both having little ones–

Oh yeah, we definitely swapped some stories. I’m a little bit ahead of her. Her son, Ocean, was about three months old when we were shooting. He was a little baby, and he was so cute. Her husband was there as well, just hanging out. Sarah and Harry {Andrew’s son} were going to come. We were originally supposed to shoot in another part of Mexico in Cancun. Then it moved to Acapulco, so it didn’t really work out ’cause it ended up being a twenty-seven-hour flight to get there. So I thought that would maybe turn Sarah off. I was originally only supposed to go for ten days, and it turned into two and a half weeks. It would have been an amazing little family vacay. But Acapulco is a little sketchy right now with the cartel activity and all that. But it ended up being an amazing trip.

Photo: Andrew Dunbar, Andrea Brooks, Jeremy Guilbaut, Alexa Pena Vega Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Jeremy Lee

I know Jeremy said you had a local crew.

Yes, they were all out of Mexico City except the script supervisor who was also on When Calls the Heart. Also the director and a couple of producers, but everyone else was basically from Mexico City. Even a couple of actors were from Mexico City, and they were awesome. The whole last week was basically a wrap party. We were doing night shoots, so we got to sleep in.  I’m sure there are shots of me salsa dancing and on the beach somewhere out there. {laughs}

Andrea kept posting pictures and keeping us updated with what you were doing down there. And it was like, “Are you guys doing any work down there?” {laughs} I know you were working, but you guys had so much fun!

It was a fun job. Actually, I wouldn’t call it a job.

I’m glad you guys had so much fun. And I’m glad too, because sometimes when we think of Mexico, we tend to think of the seedier side of things. We tend to think of the negatives and we tend to forget that there are a lot of beautiful places down there. And there are lovely people down there, but that’s not what makes the news.

It’s so sad that that’s the case. The people down there are so saddened by what’s going on. It’s so sad that their country is getting bombarded by cartels. It’s a sad situation. But the people there are incredible. One of the best crews I’ve ever worked with by a long shot. And Acapulco is beautiful. I know it hasn’t been a hot spot for North American tourism for a while, but at one time, it was the hot spot to go.

I think it’s great that Hallmark chose to highlight Mexico. It’s a good reminder that not all of Mexico is bad. That’s one of the nice things about Hallmark. They are always so positive and uplifting. The people you work with, the projects you do.   

That’s the best part of those shoots. You always want to go back to them. They are always so warm, and the people are always welcoming. It’s like family. I know that every time I walk onto the set, I know at least half of the people.

I love that too. We Hallmark fans enjoy getting to see actors we know and have interacted with on Hallmark and other networks. While network fans are great, there is something special about Hallmark fans.

Definitely. I learned from Andrea mostly. I’m not great on social media. She’s so awesome with her fans and gives them everything they want. She’s so loving to them, and they are just so awesome back. She has this great rapport with them, and obviously, the fans want to know what she’s up to behind the scenes.

So we’ll be able to see you in Destination Wedding. Are you able to say what Garage Sale Mystery movie you’re in?

Yes, it’s Garage Sale Mystery Murder Most Medieval. 

Oh, then that makes sense! I was thinking, “What are there all these shields?” Did they tell you when this one airs?

No, actually I’m not sure when this one airs. I know they’re shooting a couple more.

They actually have one airing every weekend in August.

Wow! I think they’re working on these like a TV show with just a short break in between shoots. Neill {Fearnley} worked on this one, and I know he’s working on the next one. And the crew is awesome ’cause they’ve worked together for the last four to six movies or something like that. It’s a well-oiled machine.

So are we going to see you a lot in this movie, or do you have a smaller part?

It’s like a supporting character.

with Shane Twerdun

I won’t really ask you about the story ’cause with mysteries, it’s kind of hard to know what you should and shouldn’t say. While I know you’ve been busy with all this, is there anything else upcoming that you can mention?

Yes, I started a production company called White Buffalo Films. Me and my buddy Shane {Twerdun} and our other buddy Andrew Moxham–he’s our director basically. We’ve done a couple films to date. Our latest one is White Raven. It’s a survivalist thriller set in the Pacific Northwest. A bunch of friends go on an annual camping trip. It’s been awhile since they’ve all been together–a couple years. They reconnect with their buddy who’s kind of starting to lose it a bit. The thriller is based around him.

What prompted you to start your own production company?

I was auditioning for stuff that I wasn’t always one hundred percent connected to. It came out of that. I wanted to work on something that I loved. I started writing, producing, and making short films. Then I started making feature films. And we had complete control over what we were making. And we kind of fell into this genre ’cause it’s just got those fans. And it is one where you don’t need to have superstars to sell the movie. So now we just have to distribute it. It’s available on iTunes and VOD in Canada now. We’re going to release it later on this month on iTunes and VOD and a bunch of platforms in the States.

Well, you are definitely keeping busy with work and your son. So how have you been able to manage all the family stuff and keeping your career going?

All I want to do is stay at home with the family. But it’s been nice that I’ve been able to work enough to support us. Sarah’s actually working on a few things.

We actually saw her at Christmastime.

Yeah, she’s back auditioning, so you’ll see her some more. She had a pretty awesome year hanging out with Harry. It’s just nice to have her at home taking care of Harry. We’re going to try to keep that going. We’ll just start trading off. I’ll be a stay-at-home dad while she’s working, and then we’ll switch back.

Sounds like you both have things figured out pretty well. Not all parents figure it out like you two.

We both feel very lucky to live the life we do.

Sarah and Harry

{Sarah and Harry appeared right about this point in the interview.}

How old is Harry?

He’s fourteen months.

Fun age. I have a daughter who’s going to be fourteen, later on this month.

Oh my gosh! I can’t imagine him being a grown-up human.

It will happen. For me, I enjoyed my daughter every step of the way. You don’t want to be in a hurry for them to grow up, but you don’t want to hold them back. He looks very busy, which is good. And, Sarah, you look so good!

Sarah: Thank you.

I was just telling Andrew it was so great to see you at Christmastime.

Sarah: Thank you. It was fun. I went back when he was about three and a half months old and shot The Mistletoe Promise last summer, and it was so hard for me. It was enough for then. I haven’t gone back to do anything else since then. We’ll see. I found it really challenging.

That was such a good role for you. And lots of Hallmark fans and my mom said the same thing.

Sarah: Thank you. We had a good time, but we were shooting when it was really hot. Shooting Christmas movies in the summertime is just insane.

Sarah and Cindy

You’ve interviewed Cindy Busby. She’s my best friend. She just finished shooting a Christmas movie. She had to wear a ski helmet, snowsuit, and everything. It’s been so warm here. She and I were just talking about dying in the heat when shooting Christmas movies.

It was so good to get to see both of you and your wonderful son. And we will look forward to seeing you in Destination Wedding

Thank you so much for your support, Ruth. And to the fans too. I’m not always that good on social media, but I’m trying to get better. I really appreciate everyone’s support!

First of all, Andrew is a still a relatively young person in the film business, and all too often, those young people get a “bad rap.” They are considered irresponsible, self-centered, and only interested in one thing–celebrity status. However, Andrew vanquishes all those stereotypes. Though he was a bit tardy to our scheduled interview, he apologized profusely, and as he explained, it was merely an oversight (he wrote down the wrong time). All too often, I have actors cancel–both old and young alike–but I don’t hear anything until long after, if at all. Furthermore, Andrew was never starstruck nor egotistical. His chief concern was his family’s welfare and that he was doing an equitable job of supporting them. He was willing to set things aside in anticipation of that time when Sarah decides to return to work, and he has never sought the glory in any of his projects. For him, he is just gratified to be able to pursue his passion for a living. But he never permits his career to preclude the absolute priority of his family time. In truth, Andrew’s skill is impressive, but even more so is his firm resolve to be a father and partner to those two individuals on the home front. I greatly anticipate the continued rise of Andrew’s career, and it boggles the mind to imagine what the future may have in store for him with the establishment of this production company that is merely an outgrowth of his love of acting. Be sure that you tune into the Hallmark Channel tonight (June 3rd) for the premiere of his film Destination Wedding. Additionally, be sure that you check out all of Andrew’s links below, including the links for his production company. After all, upstanding young people in this business and in the world in general are sometimes difficult to find, but he is living proof that our world is in good hands with people like him and Sarah and the lovely son they are raising as a future leader in society.

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
42-year-old single mother of an active 13-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

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