PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) – Dollywood transformed into a movie set Thursday night. Film crews shot scenes for a new Hallmark Channel movie called “Christmas at Dollywood.”
WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel was there and got to interview the film’s stars.
“Dollywood is a magical place, and now especially because of Christmas and the Christmas lights. It’s just beautiful. I feel like it’s a fairy wonderland,” said actress Danica McKellar.
East Tennessee’s own Dolly Parton also made her debut at Thursday’s filming. McKellar and co-star Niall Matter praised the superstar.
“Getting the opportunity to meet Dolly Parton has been a dream of mine since I was a child. My family flipped out knowing that I was coming to Dollywood and filming with Dolly today,” Matter said.
“She’s everything that you want her to be and more. She’s gracious, she’s gorgeous, she’s fun. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. And she makes everyone around her feel good about themselves. I don’t know how she manages to do that in about 2 to 5 seconds in meeting her, but she does,” McKellar said.
The pair play love interests in the movie, which airs as part of Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas.
“Christmas at Dollywood” was actually McKellar’s idea she said, sparked after her children’s book got into Dolly’s Imagination Library.
“I was like, ‘well how about Christmas at Dollywood?’ And she [executive at Hallmark Channel] was like ‘we love it.’ And I said should I go get a writer and producer and come back and pitch it? She said yes and here we are,” the actress said.
The movie has a message Matter said takes a page straight from Parton’s playbook.
“Chase your dreams and never give up on them, I mean that’s something that Dolly Parton has done,” Matter said.
“Christmas at Dollywood” premieres December 8.