'Northern Lights of Christmas': Ashley Williams' Holiday Memories Take Off

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06 December 2018

HALLMARK MOVIES & MYSTERIES, Dec. 15, 9:00 PM ET

By Kellie Freeze

On Saturday, Ashley Williams stars in the sweet, silly and sentimental Hallmark Movies & Mysteries holiday flick Northern Lights of Christmas, which airs as part of the network’s “Miracles of Christmas” programming event.

Williams plays pilot Zoey Hathaway, who has recently inherited her uncle’s ranch in Alaska. Her plans to sell the place and buy her own plane are diverted after she meets the ranch’s handsome caretaker, Alec Wynn (Corey Sevier), and the place’s resident reindeer, Holly and Palmer, leading her to reconnect with her home away from home.

When we caught up with Williams, our first question had to be about working with reindeer.

“I’m actually a bit of a pro when it comes to reindeer because I’ve done two other movies with reindeer,” Williams reports with a laugh. “Reindeer are tough, but what they lack in intelligence, they make up for in charm, thank goodness. They don’t take direction very well, and they’re a little stubborn, but they’re also so sweet, and they really have the kind of magic Christmas quality which is absolutely necessary this time of year.”

Williams shares that her character is torn between two legacies gifted to her by her beloved Uncle Gus. “She’s got a little bit of conflict,” she says. “Her parents moved around a lot, and Gus just always had this sort of open-door policy when it came to Zoey. The ranch became her home, and Gus became her father figure. But it wasn’t just that — he also inspired her career path. Gus was a pilot, and so she learned her passion and trade through him. He always said that she was his best student, and I think, for her, flying is a way to feel closer to him. But she’s also inherited his ranch, which also feels like a way to get closer to him.”

Williams thinks that the holidays are a time when people yearn for the loved ones who are no longer with them, as many holiday traditions are passed from generation to generation.

“Christmastime is when families come together, so it stands out when a family member isn’t there for the first time,” she says. “I lost my mother last year, and the holidays are always a time that I take to remind myself of how grateful I was for her.”

She continues, “I think sometimes we look to these landmark days on our calendar so that we can acknowledge important things that sometimes are too difficult to acknowledge during the year because things are too crazy. … I just think about how special it was to spend Christmas with my mom my whole life. I think Hallmark sort of allows us to take that kind of time by showing stories of other people taking that kind of time.”
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