Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has adapted the novel Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick, into a wonderful movie for the entire family that harkens back to the days that Hallmark Hall of Fame films were weekly staples on the main broadcast networks. The story centers around Benedict Stone, played by Tom Everett Scott, who runs his family's business, a jewelry shop specializing in gemstones, and the unexpected arrival of a teenage niece, Gemma, played by Ella Ballentine. Gemma, the daughter of Benedict's estranged brother arrives on Benedict's doorstep during a rainstorm. Benedict is home alone when she arrives because after years of struggling to get pregnant, Benedict and his wife Emilia are currently separated. Emilia has moved into a friend's apartment and is focusing on her budding second career as an artist.
Between Benedict's jewels and Emilia's vibrant paintings, the entire film Is a visual feast for the senses. It explodes with color throughout. But it was the relatable premise that attracted Tom Everett Scott to the role of Benedict, as he told Southern Living in a recent phone call. "I connected with the overall theme of family, of what a family could be," he told us.
"[Benedict] thinks he knows everything but learns that even at a later age you can grow, change, and re-assess. And the stakes are high because the woman he loves, his soul mate, is at the beginning of the story telling him, this isn't working out. And he has to figure out how to make that work. And it's not just him by himself. It's this family member that he knows nothing about because his brother and he are estranged. His niece magically appears on his doorstep. And I just like that. I like the way the story came together."
Scott was also drawn to Benedict and Emilia's love story and that it showed the realness of marriage, the struggles many couples fight to overcome. "With my wife, we've been together a long time and the only way to make a marriage work is you need to do the work… Over the years, so many things come up and you have to weather all kinds of adversity as a couple and a lot of that puts pressure on you to understand each other, to listen to each other."
You'll have to wait and see if Emilia and Benedict can overcome their adversity. But as for Scott and his wife? Well, their love story is a real-life romance worthy of its own Hallmark movie. The two met at Syracuse University and were friends for years before their relationship became romantic.
"I always had a crush on her. She always had a boyfriend in college and never really paid much attention to me other than we did a couple of scenes together in scene study class. And then later on, after college, in the first couple of years in the city when we were doing theater together, I think I was painting some sets or something on a ladder and she was going around asking people what they wanted for lunch. I think she said at that moment she looked up at me standing on a ladder with a paintbrush in my hand and said oh, he's actually cute. I think that was the moment for her. I was ready to go. I was like 'I've been clocking you for a long time," he said with a laugh. Tom and Jenny were married in 1997 and have two children together.
You can catch the premiere of Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Sunday September 26 at 9PM EST.