When it comes to Christmas time, Hilarie Burton might as well be Mrs. Clause! The actress, 37, has become a staple in It’s A Wonderful Lifetime, the Lifetime network’s holiday event. This year, she stars in A Christmas Wish — and she got many of her famous friends to join the party too!
“We got to do a One Tree Hill reunion last year for The Christmas Contract, so this year we had an even bigger cast, so we got to pull in more of our friends,” she told Us Weekly exclusively at the It’s A Wonderful Lifetime junket on Tuesday, October 22. “Colin Fickes had played Jimmy Edwards on One Tree Hill and I think he was a really underutilized character and he ended up coming back and making a significant impact on the show. Colin is a wonderful actor and when we were trying to figure out who would play Tyler Hilton‘s brother — they have the same crystal blue eyes! Colin is such a pro and is also such a joy, so it was really great to bring him in.”
In addition to Hilton and Fickes, A Christmas Wish also features One Tree Hill alum Barbara Alyn Woods, Antwon Tanner and Lee Norris. Burton also was able to bring in other friends outside of the One Tree Hill community, including Rhoda Griffis, who played Burton’s mother in her first movie ever, Our Very Own, Bruce MacVettie, who the actress has been friends with for years and Willie Garson, who she worked with on White Collar.
“It really becomes an exercise in figuring out which of your friends is available and is right for the part and we’re just so lucky that when we call, people love the genre,” she explained. “It’s fun, so it’s an easy thing to call and ask someone to do.”
As for her love for — and the rest of the world’s obsession with — holiday movies, the Lethal Weapon alum has a simple explanation: They’re good for you.
“When you go to film school — which I didn’t do, but I read a couple of books about it — they talk about how when there is trauma going on in the real world, when there’s crazy stuff happening all around you, it’s so important for mental health for you to have a break from that and to have something soft and gentle, and Christmas movies are that,” she explained to Us. “You know it’s going to be a happy ending, you know it’s going to be fulfilling. You know that the subject matter is going to be gentle, so it’s very rewarding to make something that you know families will sit down and watch together, that it’s soothing. Creating something that’s optimistic is important right now.”
A Christmas Wish premieres on Lifetime Thursday, November 28, at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Carly Sloane
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!