EXCLUSIVE: Candace Cameron Bure Talks 'The Heart of Christmas'

An entire community sets out to give a dying boy one last Christmas in this heartwarming drama, on DVD today!

Candace Cameron Talks The Heart of Christmas

Candace Cameron Bure Talks The Heart of Christmas, on DVD today!

We know, it's not even Halloween yet, and we're already running our Christmas movie coverage. We're worse than the local Wal*Mart...But wait! It actually makes sense to release The Heart of Christmas in October, as the story takes place in the fall, as one heartbroken family hopes to give their dying son a final wish: One last Christmas! Based on a true story, the movie recounts how the family's community rallied around their son to make his wish come true. And it can be enjoyed today, tomorrow, or even on the 25th of December.

To celebrate the DVD release, with discs in stores now, we caught up with Candace Cameron Bure, one of the stars of this Dove Foundation approved tearjerker, to discuss how it came together, and what it might mean for your own family this holiday season. We also get to the bottom of those It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia promos that claim the actress is taking over the role of Charlie on the hit FX sitcom this season.

Here is our conversation.

When did you first hear about the true story behind The Heart of Christmas, and what inspired you to participate in its retelling?

Candace Cameron Bure: Well, I didn't hear about the real story until I actually got the script. I had a girlfriend call me up, who is friends with the producer. She said, "You have got to read this!" So, then they said, "We are making this little movie. We don't have much of a budget. But we think that, after you read the script and hear what the movie is all about, you will want to be a part of it." I didn't even get through a quarter of the script, and I was saying, "Yes, yes, yes! I will do whatever it takes to be a part of this movie." I was on board early, and everyone that was working on this film felt the same way. Because it is based on a true story, and it is so heart felt, and heartwarming, encouraging, and inspiring, that you look at it and think, "This is what every movie should be about!" Of course, there are heartbreaking circumstances in it. But the end that comes about and inspires us is what we love to watch in any film.

Were you at all surprised that this community came together in this fashion? You don't hear 'love thy neighbor' much any more, and this really strikes at the heart of that, going back to what it means to be courteous to others...

Candace Cameron Bure: You know? I don't think it's strange or weird. The hope is that many of us would participate. That this is what a community would do in these circumstances. I think we do see this happening in many places. But, for whatever reason, so many of us are surprised when something like this happens on this scale. You are just sitting there going, "Yes, yes, yes!" This is what we should always be doing. So you get excited when it does happen. You hope for more of that.

How did you go about finding your character? Was she always in the script, or did you look beyond the written word for inspiration? We know this is based on a true story. Is your character based on a real person?

Candace Cameron Bure: Although the whole movie is based on a true story, my character, and my little family are the only fictitious characters in the movie. The way in which my character works is what weaves the true story in. I play a really busy working mom who is flustered. Her priorities are off. Her marriage is really strained. Then she sees all these Christmas decorations going up around her neighborhood in the month of October. As she realizes what is going on, she starts reading the blog of a mom, whose son is diagnosed with terminal cancer. As she reads the day-to-day blog...And this is how we see the life of Dax and what his family is going through...It really changes her heart. It shows her the need to prioritize her life, and reflect on what is important in life. She learns to cherish the moments she has with her family, her children, and her husband. So, although I had a little more leeway with my character, because she wasn't a real person, as opposed to the other characters in the movie, there was a lot I could draw from in my own life. I am a busy mom of three. I work, and my husband works. It's easy to let the priorities get off track. The busy, tedious day-to-day things do sometimes become more important than the basic needs of your family. It's easy to do that. I think a lot of us do that. So it was easy to connect with this character. But also very redeeming at the end of it.

You bring up the aspect of the blog, which your character reads, and it brings her into this other family's life. It gets her involved in her community. You hear a lot of people complain that social media is driving us apart as a society. Your character actually shows us how it can bring us all together.

Candace Cameron Bure: I think there are bold aspects of social networking. It is an important part of the community that really does a lot of good. Especially in this aspect. This is just a mom sharing her heart, but not only is it helping her work through her circumstances, it is bringing comfort to a lot of people who are going through similar things. I am very into social media. I like social media. I love blogs. I even have my own online magazine, roomag.com. Its mostly mothers saying, "This is how I do life. Maybe it will encourage you, or help you, or help feel a void or a need where you are not getting the correct information." I think it is a very helpful tool. But like anything, it has to be done in moderation. And with boundaries. That is when things can get out of control, and you can get into trouble. If you are not looking at stuff that is beneficial for you.

How did you get hooked up with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Were you a fan of that show?

Candace Cameron Bure: (Laughs) Honestly, I had never seen that show before. I, of course, did watch some of it after I agreed to do these spoof promos for it. But that's all it was. I thought it was a fun thing to do. The fans have been confused, because they actually thought I was a new character, or that I was really replacing the cast. That is not true. I simply went in for one day just to shoot these promos. It was just a joke. I thought it was funny. I had a good time doing them.

Are you a fan of Charlie Day? You actually play a version of him in these promos. You didn't know the show before hand. Did you know what he was up to?

Candace Cameron Bure: Yeah. He is hilarious. I was totally aware of who he is. He is very funny, so it was a lot of fun. You can't ever compete with that. I was a little nervous doing these promos. Because they adlibbed stuff. We had to do a lot of adlibbing. They were like, "Oh, Can, you just be your funny self. Do whatever you do best." It was kind of hectic and different, but it was a lot of fun.

People actually thought you were a part of the show?

Candace Cameron Bure: Yeah, I got a lot of great feedback, and then a lot of really bad feedback from doing it. If you are not like me, and you are a regular viewer of that show, I don't think the promos...I think you understood that it was just a joke. The real cast was at the end of the promos. I think the regular viewers, the fans...They knew it was a spoof. But I did have people who said, "This is not something you would do!" Just to make it clear, I am not a new cast member on the show!

Last question. Do you have a favorite Christmas movie that you and your family watch every year?

Candace Cameron Bure: Oh! We don't. I think we need to start a tradition. I like the goofy ones. If Christmas Vacation comes on TV, I want to sit down and watch it. I just love those fun, goofy movies. I would love to sit down and watch It's a Wonderful Life every year. But we don't. I think that is a good one to do that with. There are so many great Christmas movies. But then there are new ones every year. I definitely would encourage everyone to pick up The Heart of Christmas. I know you will enjoy it!

The Heart of Christmas is available now on DVD.

The Heart of Christmas was released October 16th, 2012 and stars Eric Jay Beck, Erin Bethea, Candace Cameron Bure, Abby de Vos, Burgess Jenkins, Gary Moore, Jeanne Neilson, George Newbern. The film is directed by Gary Wheeler.


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