Switching it up! Alexa PenaVega revealed how working away from her family actually helped her transform into her A Paris Proposal character — despite missing them.
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“What was really cool about this specific project … I left my family to go make this movie. And I never do that,” PenaVega, 34, exclusively told Us Weekly on Thursday, February 9, while promoting the Hallmark film. “We have, like, a very strict two-week rule [about working away]. But because this was filming out of the country and between Bulgaria and Paris … it just made more sense to allow the family to stay behind on that.”
The Spy Kids actress — who shares children Ocean, 6, Kingston, 3, and Rio, 21 months, with husband Carlos PenaVega — admitted that it was “tough” and “really hard at first” to be apart from her loved ones for so long.
That distance, however, ultimately led to Alexa being able to better connect with her costar Nick Bishop and the story they were telling for Hallmark.
“It really gave me an opportunity to super dive in [and] think [about] this role, which was fun,” the Christmas Made to Order star told Us. “When we were done with set the cast would literally go out to dinner together and we’d literally go over our lines for the next day. We’d talk about the scene and what we could add to it to kind of like make it a little bit more special or maybe a little more unique than Hallmark used to seeing.”
Alexa continued: “I think that’s where it really shined. We were able to just do our homework.”
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The Florida native also pointed to the all-European cast whom she worked alongside while in Paris and Bulgaria. “They are all, like, trained actors, not just people who like acting. They’ve all been to school for acting,” she explained. “They are highly trained in it, and you can tell because they really brought it.”
A Paris Proposal follows two advertising executives, Anna (Alexa) and Sebastian (Bishop), who travel to Paris to try and land the Durand Diamonds account. Along the way, the twosome “end up in a tricky situation when the client mistakes them for a happy couple,” the official logline reads.
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Since the characters had such a seemingly conflicting dynamic — being adversaries but also potentially falling for one another — Alexa said that her chemistry with Bishop was key to a successful movie.
The Taking a Shot at Love actress explained to Us on Thursday that the costars’ ease with one another was evident by their ability to fight, ad-lib and bounce back and forth in every scene.
“You know what I love? For me, the bickering scenes … when we don’t get along, those are the most fun to me,” Alexa shared. “Because a lot of times I do get along with my costars and I am having such a great time that to be able to, I don’t know, be at each other’s throats is just such a fun thing to do.”
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The Tomorrow People alum noted that “when you find somebody that really is willing to kind of go there with you and play not just with what’s on paper but, like, ad-lib and kind of add more to it’s amazing what kind of blossoms out of that.”
She recalled doing that “a lot” with Bishop, which led to one of her favorite lines in the movie.
“There’s this one moment where I’m walking away from Sebastian and Nick randomly threw out, ‘I loved you and Legally Blonde by the way.’ And we all died laughing because that wasn’t on paper,” Alexa revealed. “It was just like a random thing that he shouted out at me. We do that kind of stuff all the time and we laugh so hard. … I kind of like that angst between them.”
A Paris Proposal airs on Hallmark Channel Saturday, February 11, at 8 p.m. ET.
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With reporting by Kat Pettibone
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