Jennie Garth will probably forever be known as Kelly Taylor from both incarnations of “90210,” as well as for her comedic turn on the sitcom “What I Like About You.” But she is also the mother of three adorable daughters and the wife of actor/writer Peter Facinelli, who is best known for his role of the compassionate vampire “dad” Carlisle Cullen in “The Twilight Saga” phenomenon.
Years ago, Peter got an idea for a screenplay, with the thought that it could be a project for himself and his wife. But “Twilight” and other responsibilities made it impossible for Peter to act in his movie, “Accidentally in Love,” but the project went full speed ahead with Jennie in the starring role of single mom Annie, who finds herself falling in love with an actor who’s hiding a secret identity. “Accidentally in Love” premieres Saturday, Feb. 12 at 9/8c, on Hallmark Channel and runs throughout the weekend (check your local listings).
Celebrity Extra: When your husband wrote this movie, he wrote it with both of you in mind, but it turned out he couldn’t be in it. Were you sad because you’d like to act with him, or were you a little relieved because you don’t want to mix business with pleasure?
Jennie Garth: No, I’d love to work with him, but it would have been a different movie if he’d have done it. It was funny because, like you said, he wanted to play the role of Eddie, and I told him, “You know, I don’t really think you’re right for it.” He said: “What? I’m not right for my own movie?”
CE: What are some aspects of Annie’s personality that you can relate to and empathize with?
JG: Of course, the mother aspect — the love for your child and protecting your child. I like that she’s a hard worker, and she works as a waitress and has a real life. I gravitate toward real people in general, real American working people. I really have a fondness for that life, and so I loved playing someone like that. My life, as real as it is for me, is probably not what some people would consider to be normal. So I loved that sort of “Everywoman” aspect to her.
CE: Of course you are a professional, but was it weird for you to be kissing another man, ironically because of something your husband wrote?
JG: It’s always weird. There is never a time when it’s not weird doing love scenes or being romantic with a stranger, especially when you are married and your kids are going to be seeing it. Peter wasn’t on set during that scene. I was on the phone with him going: “Oh, I don’t want to do it. It’s weird.” It is NOT my favorite thing to do.
CE: At least your co-star, Ethan Erickson, ain’t too bad-looking, and is quite the charmer, so that must have made it easier.
JG: He’s a doll, and just so respectful of me and my husband and our family. I couldn’t have asked for a better co-star.
CE: Speaking of co-stars, your other co-stars were wonderful — Marilu Henner, Fred Willard and Dannika Northcott.
JG: Weren’t they great? I was shocked that Marilu was going to be my mom, because she’s so young and foxy. But we have so much in common. I had an instant fondness for her and just wanted to hear all of her stories — and she has a lot of stories. And also having Fred Willard there, I was like: “Are you kidding me? Fred Willard’s going to come in and play this?” That was so exciting for me working with him. Dannika, who played my daughter, is a sweet friend of my family now. She is such a gifted, very natural actress.
CE: What do you hope the audience takes away from this movie?
JG: The message from Eddie’s character is pretty profound: You can have money and all the accolades and success, but until you have someone to share it with, you’re really nothing. And for Annie to let her guard down and be lovable, to try to move forward and find love again was a challenge for her.