The Knight Before Christmas stars talk about all things Christmas

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
The Knight Before Christmas stars talk about all things Christmas
Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse get into the holiday spirit with the Netflix film, The Knight Before Christmas, now available on the streaming giant.

MANILA,Philippines — Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse get into the holiday spirit with the Netflix film, The Knight Before Christmas, now available on the streaming giant.

In the film, which also credits Vanessa as one of the producers, the actress plays Brooke, a schoolteacher who is embittered and disillusioned by love. During Christmastime, she accidentally meets and decides to help a time-traveling, chivalrous knight from the medieval period named Sir Cole (Josh), who is on a quest to reclaim his old life while trying to survive in the modern-day world.

Directed by Monika Mitchell (The Christmas Contract, Royal New Year’s Eve), The Knight Before Christmas is a feel-good rom-com that’s designed for what yuletide songs describe as the most wonderful time of the year.   

It’s the second Christmas-themed Netflix film for Vanessa, who previously topbilled the 2018 holiday movie Princess Switch.

“I love Christmastime. I think it’s such a fun time, one that I always look back very fondly on, and I thought that it’s really special to do Christmas movies. Because it’s a time that can be stressful for families and to do a film that you can watch around this time, bringing families together, having a little bit of escapism and believing in love and magic, is a really beautiful thing. If I can be in people’s living room and ignite feelings of joy, that’s a wonderful thing to be remembered by,” Vanessa said in a phone interview with Philippine media, including The STAR, on Sunday.

For Josh, who is best known for starring in the BBC series Poldark, a signature Netflix Christmas film is something that provides all the feels. “Some positivity maybe, maybe a couple of tears, maybe a sad moment, maybe a little uplifting. I think, a little bit of everything. Yeah, all the feels, and definitely some hot cocoa,” the 29-year-old British actor said.

The stars further discussed all things Christmas, from traditions, favorites to plans.

Despite being busy promoting The Knight Before Christmas in the US, Vanessa, we were told, made sure to make time for the Filipino press interview because the actress ­ who first shot to fame via the 2006 to 2008 High School Musical films, is proud to be part-Filipino (see related story). Read on.

On working with each other for the first time:

Vanessa: It was great, we had a lot of fun. I was told that we were kindred spirits and we kind of hit it off right away. We had a lot of fun working together and the story is just a really wonderful story to tell. So, we made the best of it.

Josh: Yeah, I really enjoyed it. I felt like we just clicked really quickly and we didn’t have a long time to get to know one another but (we’re) quite similar kinds of people, so it was really easy to just sort of get to know each other and have a good time.

On connecting with their characters:

Vanessa: I feel like every project that I’ve done, there’s always a definite piece of me. But I, myself, Vanessa, am a hopeless romantic and Brooke has been hurt by love. So, you definitely meet her in a very different place from me.

Josh: I felt I could relate to the character Sir Cole. As a guy who does art and music and various other creative forms, people have called me renaissance man before, which is something that Sir Cole is referred to in the film. But, you know, I also like to be chivalrous and I consider myself a romantic. But I’m not a knight (laughter).

On where they wish to time-travel to, just like one of the themes tackled in the film:

Vanessa: If I were to time-travel during Christmas, I don’t know. I am such a homebody. I’m like, I don’t want to go anywhere. I just want to be home.

Josh: I’d like to time-travel to the future, and see what’s going on. Maybe go to the year 4000, if it even exists (laughter).

On the favorite Christmas gift/s they’ve received:

Josh: Once my brother bought me a computer game that I really wanted, but he didn’t tell me that he got me a computer game. He wrapped it up in a towel and pretended that he’d given me a towel for Christmas. He tricked me. I’ve always remembered that.

Vanessa: I remember getting a Dumbo. It was like a stuffed animal, like an elephant thing, that was basically as large as me when I was like three years old, and I just remember loving it so much.

On their favorite Christmas memory:

Vanessa: I had a Christmas party a few years ago that I loved. I hired a pianist and she brought booklets with all the lyrics for different songs. And all my friends got together on the piano with our mulled wine and sang Christmas carols as loud as we possibly could. It was a fun way for everyone to be together and have a great time.

Josh: Every year, we try and put our Christmas tree up in a different position, and it’s always fun. I look forward to doing that (mid of December this year). Sometimes, it’s hanging from the ceiling, sometimes it’s upside down. I look forward to seeing what we come up with this year.

On how they plan to spend their Christmas this year:

Josh: It’s really just the same thing I usually do with friends and family. And sometimes, me and my brothers go for a walk in the woods, through the trees and you know, it’s quiet, it’s Christmas, it’s cold in London. Or just having a few drinks and some food.

Vanessa: I’m such a homebody. I love just being at home, and I love being home during the holidays. I think it’s just such a special time and I’m just going to spend it with my friends and my family, people I love, have food, drinks, watch some Christmas movies and reflect on the year that I’ve had.

Vanessa with her ‘favorite woman and No. 1 fan’ — Pinay mom Gina Guangco.
Photo from Vanessa’s Instagram account

Vanessa Hudgens coming to Philippines ‘soon’

Vanessa Hudgens took to Instagram on Tuesday to greet her No. 1 fan her Filipina mom Gina Guangco a happy birthday.

“Happy birthday to @mamagh. My favorite fiery, passionate, joyous woman. She’s my No. 1 fan and I’m hers. Love you for everything you do and are mommy,” the 30-year-old Hollywood star wrote.

On Sunday, during a phone interview with some Filipino press to promote her Christmas film on Netflix, titled The Knight Before Christmas, the Fil-Am singer/actress talked a bit more about her Filipino connection through her mom.

When a reporter recommended to Vanessa and her leading man, the British actor Josh Whitehouse, to try out someday the Pinoy Christmas food staples such as puto bumbong and bibingka, Vanessa was quick to react that she already sampled the latter. 

“I got it at Goldilocks, a little restaurant here in California. My mom got it for me and she was like, ‘You need to try this honey,’” she recalled.

Vanessa also said that she loves halo-halo. “Halo-halo is my favorite. And because it’s white and refreshing and delicious.”

According to her, the very Pinoy Christmas traditions that her mom passed on to her are the big family Christmas dinners, a.k.a. noche buena.

“Definitely, I had the Christmas dinners. Like, we have lumpia, pancit, adobo and pandesal. I love pandesal so much, especially when it’s warm. Ah, so good!”

Asked if there would be a chance for her to visit the Philippines in the future, she answered in the affirmative. “I am. I’m going to go. Yeah, I really, really, really want to go. It’s on my to-do list. I’m coming. I’m coming soon!”

Meantime, Vanessa is expanding her creative pursuits by becoming a first-time producer on her latest Christmas-themed film on Netflix.

She said of her experience: “It was wonderful, really lovely. I felt like my opinion was really encouraged and I got to kind of shape the project into what it became.

“You know, (becoming a producer) seems like a smart thing to do. I think that, as a producer, like I said, you kind of have more of a say in the film. So, I thought, that sounds like a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

It does seem that Vanessa is becoming the holiday movie queen on the streaming giant.

Last Christmas, she starred in the hit Netflix film Princess Switch. A sequel is already in the works for release next year, with Vanessa reportedly back as lead star and this time, as a producer as well.

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