Marla Sokoloff can do it all. Or, at least, talking to her, you get the sense that she thinks she can, and she’s very much gonna try.
If you ask us, she’s succeeding. Last Saturday, we got to see her play Lindsay in Lifetime’s The Road Home for Christmas alongside Rob Mayes. The movie kicked off the network’s “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime,” which runs through December 2019 encompassing 30 movies. As if that weren’t enough, Marla is also making her directorial debut on another film to premiere on Lifetime, The Christmas Hotel, staring Tatyana Ali, which is set to air December 21st.
Sounds like a lot to you? Well, it is a lot for anyone, but we had a chance to talk to Marla about both projects and if there’s something we can promise, is that she’s got this. Not only that, she’s gonna have fun doing it.
The Road Home for Christmas, for example, features “Two rival musicians, who perform in a dueling piano show, suddenly find themselves without a gig on Christmas Eve and decide to embark on a road trip to their neighboring hometowns together. During the drive, the mismatched pair find themselves surrounded by Santa conventioneers, saving a Christmas nativity play, performing onstage in Nashville with music royalty Marie Osmond and braving a massive snowstorm which just may lead them to making sweet music together.”
Sounds just like the kind of movie we want to watch during Christmas, doesn’t it?
Marla agreed, sharing that this movie is “special in the way that you can sit down and know exactly what you’re gonna get, you’re gonna get a Christmas movie that’s gonna feel good, you’re gonna have time with your family and everyone can sit down and enjoy a movie that’s gonna get you in the Christmas spirit.”
And hey, as someone who absolutely lives for this time of the year and these movies, Marla and I agreed that watching The Road Home for Christmas kind of makes you, well, want to go on a road trip. “As long as you don’t get stuck in a snowstorm, it would be fun,” she proclaimed, as we discussed why this movie was worth watching.
One thing that stands out is that, just as Marla confessed, this movie has “has a lot of special components that a lot of Christmas movies don’t have, like the music.”
And not just any music either, it has Marie Osmond, who Marla praised as being just a really lovely person, and someone who was a joy working with, especially considering that, as she very well put it “we all kind of essentially grew up with her.”
You’d think that would have been nerve-wracking, or daunting, but as we laughed our way through one of the most relaxed interviews I’ve ever done, I could tell Marla Sokoloff isn’t the type to back down from a challenge, whether it be staring in this film and filming these kind of movies, which is probably an experience in and off itself, as “you’re sweaty, in sweaters and jackets generally, in July or June, because that’s when we film them,” or directing her first movie.
Because yes, Marla is not only starring in a Christmas movie this year, she’s getting to direct one too, The Christmas Hotel. In fact, one of my first questions for her regarding this was about the tight schedule, because the movie is filming now – as you read this – and it’s set to debut in less than two months.
How does that even happen?
“We’re editing as we go, and saying a lot of prayers,” Marla said with a laugh that spoke of a lot of hard work, but also of the kind of work you love doing. And interviewing her, I was struck with how many of these Christmas movies that are consumed and marketed mostly to women are directed by men.
Another glad ceiling, we need to break. It’s like they never end.
Marla had something very interesting to say when I remarked this, she remarked on how much the female crew loved having a female director. These are the little things you don’t think about, but I’m glad Lifetime is taking into consideration as they’re making the movies we love.
I mean, we can always go even more diverse. We’ll watch, we promise. But it’s good to know that, even if it’s slower than we would all like, something is happening.
And Marla Sokoloff is excited to be part of it, excited to get a chance to direct, excited to do something she’s “fallen in love with” and that she wants to continue doing from here on out, especially because of the great experience she’s had in her debut, where, as she puts it: “as a director I’m incredibly luck to work with some of the actors that we have in this movie, like Tatyana Ali, who is an absolute pro.”
With how much these movies are, sometimes, a warm hug when we desperately need them, it’s good to know that they’re the same to the people making them, that there’s a level of excitement there. And boy, is there. Marla shared that she gets super giddy behind the monitor, so much that “someone told me I want to film you watching the actors.”
Next step, a documentary on female directors. We’re in.
As for her favorite Christmas movies, though Marla tried to go for Home Alone – in the end, we settled for something more like, well, like The Road Home for Christmas and The Christmas Hotel: Love Actually.
Christmas is all around us, after all. And with Lifetime bringing us the joy of Christmas and artists like Marla Sokoloff putting the dedication and the joy into bringing the product, then, what else can we expect but some happy holidays indeed.
Check out Marla Sokoloff in The Road Home for Christmas, on Lifetime.