Interview With Actress Karen Kruper, “Finding Santa”

By Ruth on November 24, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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Last year, shortly after the conclusion of Chesapeake Shores season one, I had the opportunity to interview Karen Kruper whom I knew then as Trace’s (Jesse Metcalfe) mother on that popular Hallmark series. Karen and I instantly connected as a result of that chat, and we have been immensely supportive of each other since that time. Recently, Karen and I had the chance to catch up yet again, and I am pleased to share with you my follow-up interview with the lovely, gifted, benevolent, and sweet lady who will be featured in Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas offering later on this evening.

RH: Karen, it is so good to get to talk with you again.

KK: Same here, Ruth. Things are just so good right now. I have been choosing to focus on being grateful and looking for what is good this year, and I am just so happy and blessed to be where I am right now in my life.

I am with you there, Karen. Things in this world seem so crazy right now. 

Absolutely. All the stuff happening in the world, coupled with our current political climate…we are being bowled over by stuff. We have to be more resilient than ever, I think. And that’s another reason why we should say we’re happy and count our blessings.

I agree completely. I am so tired of people talking about what divides us. It’s time for us to come together and work together. Let’s celebrate what unites us. 

That’s right. I think if we could learn to be a little more tolerant with everybody, I think things would be a little bit easier to manage. I think there’s strength in moderation rather than taking extreme positions on either side. I’m happy sitting on the fence. I do have an opinion, but I don’t need to grandstand that. I’m a cheerleader at heart. I don’t need to be the one leading the parade.

So you have a Hallmark Christmas movie coming up. 

Well, there’s a couple of Christmas movies coming up, but yes, I am in a new Hallmark one this year that it seems like we just got done shooting. It’s called Finding Santa. It used to be years ago that we shot “movies of the week” in twenty-four days, and we would think, “Wow, that is nice.” And then suddenly we were doing it in twenty-one days, and we wondered how we would get it all in. And then we were down to eighteen days. That was it. But now we’re shooting movies of the week, especially with Hallmark, in fifteen days. So David Winning has been pulling off fifteen-day movies.

I don’t know how he does it! I even managed to interview him recently, and I have no idea how he found time to direct movies and answer my questions.

Doesn’t he have the most calming voice in the world? It’s like he’s reading you a bedtime story. And that’s what he’s like on set. You do a take, and he walks right up to you and says, “I like what you did there, and this time we’re going to try it as if you’re not as friendly, but you’re still happy to be here. And let’s have the grips get more light here. Let’s try that again, and if everybody could just keep quiet.” He’s got all these instructions, but he keeps his voice very nice, soothing and calm. I feel like I’m getting a massage when I’m on set. {laughs}

That is honestly what I hear from everyone about David. It was so nice to discover that he is just like everyone said he is. 

He’s also so darn organized; I think that’s the thing. He’s really efficient with his time. I think we talked about the connection David and I have last time you and I chatted.

Yes, I remember that. Aren’t you both from the same area or something like that?

Yes, same area, but different schools. I feel like he and I have this community spirit. Now he calls me “Calgary.” I can’t believe he pulled this last one off in fifteen days.

From Finding Santa

I know what you mean! I saw Finding Santa pop up in my social media feed, and at first, I thought it was an old movie that was reairing, but when I realized it was new, I thought, “How on earth did he find time to direct this one?”

He is a marvel. We have been so lucky with our directors. And I think that’s what Hallmark gives off. It’s this wonderful relationship it has, and you feel like you’re part of a family and everybody is contributing to the whole. And you have to have that intention going in. You’re part of this family, and you’re going in to focus and create something as a family. It is so great to step on set the first day, and whatever position you have, you are a part of the family. Like with Finding Santa, I have a very small role, but it’s comedy so I’m looking forward to seeing it. But it doesn’t matter how long or short you’re on set. Everybody is contributing, and you don’t always get that with every network. But with Hallmark, it’s an unwritten thing. Everybody signs up and agrees and it makes it that much more fun.

Of course, we also saw you in the second season of Chesapeake Shores. You were in two episodes if I remember right.

It’s just marvelous to be a part of that show. Shooting in Qualicum Beach can be very spiritual, and they seem to have such a leisure about the way they shoot that show. I think the area and the kind of story we’re telling contribute to that as well.

Now as far as writers go, Michael (Berns} and Kirsten {Hansen}–they are phenomenal! They are set up in a little tent on set. When I first heard there were new writers on set, I asked where they were so I could meet them. I couldn’t believe they had a writing tent on set. They weren’t able to get to my scene for a whole day, so I sat with them for that day. I asked, “Am I bothering you guys?” And they were like, “No, no, sit down. We want to hear how it’s going. We want to hear your input and let’s talk about your scenes.” Meanwhile, they’ve both got their laptops and they’ve got their earbuds in. I was like, “How can you guys do that?” They said, “It’s the only way we can immerse ourselves in what we have to pick up on.” I’m telling you, they really worked hard. I’m very excited to see what’s going to happen if and when we get a season three. But I just love what they’re doing with the writing on that show.

Well, I sure hope we get a season three announcement soon. I can’t imagine it wouldn’t happen.

I hear you. And I just joined the Chesapeake Shores Facebook group a little while ago, and I have been amazed at the support this show has. A whole fandom I haven’t been a part of till now.

I do have to go back to the climate we’ve been experiencing in this country and the world, especially this year. More and more people are tuning into Chesapeake Shores, and Hallmark is getting such tremendous viewership because we need that. We need to fall back on family values, community sense of spirit and sense of self, and I think that’s in direct contrast to what’s going on in our day-to-day lives. Hallmark is a heart-based network, and I think more people are finding they need that in times of conflict and crisis and world and weather events.

I know exactly what you mean. When one of these tragedies happens, I find the television viewing statistics quite telling. People tune in to the news, and that gets good ratings. But then when they’re done hearing about that, they tune into Hallmark. And the ratings show exactly that. People hear their news, and then they want an escape from all this darkness around them.

It would be great if Hallmark had a news show. They could cover all the good news rather than all the bad stuff out there.

Well, Hallmark is going to start their first reality show with Meet the Peetes next year. 

That is great news! This year, Hallmark has been becoming more and more diverse. It used to be something that was forbidden in the entertainment world, and now it’s happening. I like that because it’s more inclusive. It’s tasteful, but with it being more inclusive, it’s going to give them greater viewership on a broader scale, especially in markets outside of the U.S.

From Runaway Christmas Bride

While people look at me and sometimes think based on how I look and my culture that I am not interested in diversity, I have actually been a champion of diversity for most of my life.

You know, I met a fellow about three months ago in Vancouver, and he was writing a script. He’s an African-American guy, and he lives in D.C. He’s very smart. He was writing a script, and we were talking about getting it funded. He told me it deals with a part of the culture that has not been addressed in anything regarding the Civil War, the revolutions or black history. So I was like, “Well, let’s get this produced. Let’s find a way.” He’s been letting me read snippets of it, and I’m telling you, Ruth, I’m embarrassed to say that I was ignorant about a lot of the challenges. As white girls, we might have an idea of what goes on, but I’m still embarrassed that I had such a narrow view of what was actually happening and is happening. I’m about halfway through the script, and we are actually working on getting some funding from various places. In fact, I think it should be a series, not just a film because then you can expand on it more if it’s a series. But we’ll see what happens.

Thinking about Hallmark Christmas movies and strong women, recently, I interviewed Rebecca Staab. Do you know her?

Oh, the woman who keeps getting my work! {laughs}

{laughs} Well, I can see how you two might be up for similar roles. 

We don’t know each other well, but we keep running into each other at auditions.

They should put you two in a movie together. You both could be sisters.

True, we have a similar look. She could be my younger, better, smarter, better-looking self. But speaking of other Hallmark actors, I did a movie with Cindy Busby this year, too, and I tell you, she is the best. She is honestly just the best girl ever. She’s so funny. Right before I went up to film Finding Santa, she and I went out and we shot a video for David Winning. It was a noisy place, and we were both yelling at the camera. So I took the audio out and put some old-time carousel music behind it. So when I walked in to audition for David, he said, “I still have that on my phone!” Cindy is just so much fun, so down-to-earth, and so fantastically Canadian I can hardly stand it. I just love that girl.

So is this the movie on Ion called Runaway Christmas Bride–the one you’re in with Cindy?

Yes, it certainly is. Cindy and I are in that one. And my husband in the movie was played by Mackenzie Gray, and I have been wanting to work with Mackenzie for fifteen years.  I couldn’t flippin’ believe it when I walked in and I saw Mackenzie Gray. It was a complete surprise for me! I saw Cindy’s name, and I didn’t know her, but I googled her. Then Travis Milne–I worked with him fifteen years ago on the first show he was ever on. Gary Harvey directed it. We filmed it in Calgary. We fell in love with each other. He’s such a funny guy. Then he went on to do season after season of Rookie Blue. He was jumping up and down when he saw me, and he gave me a huge hug. So we were all in this together. I am so grateful for this experience. Such an amazing community we had on set. In fact, I think we had way too much fun on set. We could hardly keep it together because we were laughing so hard. The director would say, “Could we just pay attention to what we’re doing here?” {laughs} We just had way too much fun.

Well, it sounds like the Christmas offerings are going to be fun this year, and I can hardly wait to see both of them!

Thank you, Ruth, and all the fans for their incredible support. And thanks for letting me share my story.

And one more thing. For those looking to help people out this season,  I think the holidays always remind us of the less fortunate and I wanted to let everyone know I’m working with a charity called Pencils of Promise.

Health and Education are the cornerstones for making any real change in anyone’s life but especially children. I hope to be as much of an ambassador as I possibly can for these folks. Traveling to Ghana is on my radar for 2018. Anyone can confidently donate or contact me for more info.

I am intensely humbled and grateful to be able to feature one of the most remarkable women in the film and TV community today! Yes, I can say that Karen is one who always inspires me with her insightful posts, her wealth of earthborn wisdom, and her ofttimes cheeky (but always appropriate) sense of humor. Again, Karen is one who reminds me that as a woman, one can still be vigorous, beautiful and above all, active even at the age of forty and beyond. As I continue to mature, I find myself drawn to women like Karen, who espouse everything that is wholesome and stimulating about life and living it to the fullest, and the fact that she is still honing her craft and continuing to work on projects in which she believes is enough to motivate me on those days when I would rather stay in bed and permit the world to pass me by. She is still dynamically evolving as a person and an actress, and no matter the environment in which she is placed, I agree with something David Winning told her–she is a “team player.” And as far as I’m concerned, she is one of the best in that department. She will practically bend over backwards to help those who generally respect her and treat her well, and if Karen is on your side, you will have a lifelong advocate who will always come alongside you and encourage you to not give up. Furthermore, it is never “all about her,” as she understands and respects the irrefutable value of promoting all on her team equally and authentically. Her needs are often sidelined in order to ameliorate the whole.

Therefore, please tune in tonight (November 24) to the Hallmark Channel for the premiere of Finding Santa, and keep an eye out for her vivacious form and scintillating smile as I am certain longtime fans of the network will recognize her. Additionally, be sure to watch Runaway Christmas Bride December 9th when it premieres on ION Television (or check local listings for additional air times and dates). Moreover, check out all of Karen’s links below and follow her where applicable. I promise she will not jam your feed with selfies and endless retweets of banal information. Instead, this phenomenal woman will inspire you to become the best version of yourself, and if you ever experience a day when you are a bit dejected, her uplifting words, phrases and advice are the ones that will instantly remind you of that timeless truth that surrendering is NOT an option.

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher

2 Comments

  1. denise November 25, 2017 Reply

    wonderful interview!

    • Author
      Ruth November 26, 2017 Reply

      Thank you Denise!

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