CHRONICLE MYSTERIES: THE DEEP END, Alison Sweeney’s new movie for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, airs this Sunday, August 25. The actress previews the fourth installment of the series here:
Soap Opera Digest: You’re on movie No. 4 of this series. What have you learned in the process of making them?
Alison Sweeney: I think what’s really fun about the fourth movie, different from the first one, is that we included a lot more of the personal relationships and took the opportunity to really kind of actually bring Alex and Drew a little closer together and focus our story a little more on the development of that relationship. As fun and important as the mystery is, we certainly get a chance to see more of Alex, who Alex is, what her backstory is. And we see it a bit through Drew’s eyes, him really getting to see that side of Alex.
Digest: What kind of feedback have you gotten from fans about the series and also the Alex and Drew relationship?
Sweeney: It’s so awesome to be able to see the fans’ reaction and how much they enjoy all of the characters. For me, as much as, obviously, I feel a special attachment to Alex, I feel very attached to all of it. So when people love or quote any line from any of the movies or they love Chuck or comment on Eileen, I feel like a proud parent. It’s all so personal to me. The fans’ reaction has been awesome and so rewarding. I really love their enthusiasm for the story. We got a lot of positive feedback. People love the idea of a podcast and that device as a storytelling tool. So that’s been really fun. And the humor that’s provided by Chuck and Eileen has been well received. I enjoy all of it.
Digest: What does it mean to you that you’re on your fourth movie of a series that you created?
Sweeney: It’s incredibly rewarding. It’s a dream come true for me. I’ve always considered myself a storyteller beyond just being an actress. I love being a part of every element of bringing these movies together. And to see all the elements come together so successfully has been an incredible journey. And to be in your fourth movie in the process of developing more after this … Sometimes you just want to pinch yourself, like you can’t believe it’s really happening.
Digest: So there’s another one after this one?
Sweeney: Yes, we are working on more to come. It’s really exciting.
Digest: Where did you get the inspiration for this next movie?
Sweeney: I thought it was really fun to mix it up and do something that’s a little more current as opposed to a cold case. This is a case of a woman who is accused of murdering her husband. The spouse is always the first person you should look at because it is very commonly true that the person closest to the victim is often involved. We wanted to touch on that a little bit, that perhaps it’s too easy to look at the spouse and get blinders on and not look at other circumstances in the case. But Alex, of course, gives the case a fresh look and starts at the beginning. She gets personally involved because her friend is the defense attorney for the woman who is accused of murdering her husband.
Digest: You’ve hooked into an idea where there are endless possibilities here with crimes and podcasts. What does that say to you for the future of this brand?
Sweeney: Certainly, the success of the true crime space and people’s interest in understanding crimes and the justice system and how it works seems to be limitless at this point because there are so many different stories to tell. From the perspective of a podcaster, you’re not as limited as maybe coming at it from another angle, like a detective. There’s a freedom to that medium that you can hear when you’re listening. They follow the story that interests them in real life. That’s why I love podcasts. For me, it totally makes sense to do a show about a podcaster because then, as the show creator, you can follow your interest to whatever case you want to explore. It leaves all of those avenues open.
Digest: You recently made another appearance on DAYS. How does it make you feel when you see how excited the fans are to have Sami back again?
Sweeney: It’s awesome. I love filming there, of course. I always get such joy out of being back in Salem. It’s so amazing how everyone there is so welcoming. It’s as if in some ways, no time has passed. I can go meet Richard [Bloore, costume designer] in wardrobe and I feel like Sami five minutes later. It’s an amazing two-step process because you film it and then six months later it airs. You get that thrill again of the fans reacting to it and seeing you on-screen, and the positive feedback Bryan [R. Dattilo, Lucas] and I got. I had sort of been thinking, “Oh, it’s going to air soon,” but I wasn’t exactly sure what day and then all of a sudden my Twitter feed blows up with scenes that Bryan and I had done together. It just was so wonderful. I remember thinking how good Bryan was in those scenes. The scene I leave on was Ari [Zucker] doing “Nicole” but was Kristen. I thought she just did a fantastic job of that. She really put a spin on it that set me back. It was such a fun scene. I remember a fan tweeting, “Of course, Sami was on to her.” I started thinking, “Yeah. Sami and Nicole have been going at it for however many decades at this point.” I loved it. It just left me so impressed at all the stuff that is happening at DAYS in an ongoing way and what a clever story Ron [Carlivati, head writer] is telling.
Digest: Would you make another appearance?
Sweeney: Of course. Always. It’s hard because of the other stuff I have going on, but when Ken [Corday, executive producer] calls, I’m always honored and thrilled and excited at the opportunity.