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`The Way Home` stars Evan Williams, Sadie LaFlamme-Snow, Chyler Leigh and Andie MacDowell. (Credit: ©2023-24 Hallmark Media/photographer: Peter Stranks)
"The Way Home" stars Evan Williams, Sadie LaFlamme-Snow, Chyler Leigh and Andie MacDowell. (Credit: ©2023-24 Hallmark Media/photographer: Peter Stranks)

'The Way Home' stars ponder what pond will do in season 2

by jmaloni
Fri, Jan 12th 2024 06:20 pm

Q&A with Sadie Laflamme-Snow & Evan Williams

√ Hallmark Channel's marvelous mystery returns Sunday for season 2

Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni


“Three generations of women embark on an enlightening journey to find their way back to each other and learn important lessons about their family’s past.”

Sounds like a typical Hallmark Channel production, right?

Well, this one has a catch – and it’s a juicy doozy.

Time travel.

At wits' end when her teenage daughter, Alice (Sadie Laflamme-Snow), is kicked out of school – on the same day she’s lost her job at the newspaper – Kat (Chyler Leigh) unexpectedly receives a letter from her estranged mother, Del (Andie MacDowell), and decides to return to her childhood home in Port Haven, Canada.

Alice, meanwhile, unimpressed with farm life – and furious with her now-separated mother and father – runs away, and finds a mysterious pond at the back of her grandmother’s land. She takes a bracelet gifted to her by Kat and angrily tosses it into the water. Immediately regretting that decision, and desperate to reclaim the jewelry, Alice falls in as she reaches out for the keepsake. Upon entry, she quickly discovers this is no ordinary underwater experience.

Gripped by the vegetation and struggling to find air, Alice is rescued – pulled out by a teenage girl … who turns out to be her mother, of all people – oh, and the year is 1999.

Soon after, Alice meets Colton (Jefferson Brown), who is her grandfather, and Jacob (Remy Smith), her adolescent uncle. This is her first encounter with them, as Colton is deceased and Jacob missing and presumed dead in Alice’s era.

Alice works to come to terms with this new world with the help of a neighbor, a teenage Elliott (David Webster) – who will later become her high school teacher (Evan Williams). As Alice learns the pond will permit her to go back and forth between the decades, she relishes the chance to forge a relationship with, well, a more ideal version of her family.

But as the events leading up to Jacob’s disappearance and Colton’s death draw near, Alice – and then Kat, who later learns of the pond – tries to change the past to better the future.

In season one, Laflamme-Snow did a masterful job of navigating through Alice’s many ups and downs: Everything from flaming out at a high school talent show to becoming best friends with her teenage mom, finding love with Nick as the millennium ends (and not knowing what that means in the present), and becoming conflicted as to whether or not it’s worth it to try and meddle with history.

Williams, meanwhile, was equally up to the challenge in bringing to life a man whose future was laid out before him in his teenage years – a character who’s still processing that burden as he’s tasked with guiding Alice – and later Kat, whom he’s loved since they were young neighbors on the farm – through the perils of time travel. Though Elliott doesn’t jump into the water, he is every bit the expert when it comes to reliving and unpacking the past.

The actors previewed season two – and shared more about the creation of their characters – in a press junket held earlier this week. An edited Q&A follows.

Season two of “The Way Home” premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, on the Hallmark Channel. New episodes air weekly.

What does the pond have in store for season two of "The Way Home"? (Credit: ©2023-24 Hallmark Media/photographer: Peter Stranks)


Q: Tell me about jumping into the pond. When you're auditioning for the show – when you're talking about what the role might entail – did you know that was going to be part of the gig – going in and out of the water as many times as we see you doing that?

Sadie Laflamme-Snow: No, honestly. I knew that there was a time travel twist. But, even when I got a call back for the job, they kind of were like, “And by the way, in this scene, you've time traveled.” And I was like, “Oh, so that's something that we're contending with here.”

And it really made the scene that much more exciting, because any scene where you can play that you have a little secret, or something that you can't tell your scene partner, I feel like it makes it really interesting and exciting.

A couple of days before I finally confirmed that I was going to get to join the project, I got a text saying, “Can you swim?” And I'm thinking, “Yeah, I can swim.” And I'm like, “OK, sure.”

Then when we got to set and we're doing camera tests and that sort of thing, they’re like, “So, we're thinking, for the pond. …” And it all started to become real for me that this was not a one-time thing. This isn’t like you go to the pond once and then, like every other time, we just mention it and that's it; that's all. We visit the pond pretty frequently when we're shooting the show.

It's a really magical location. The scenes that happen there are always really pivotal because you don't write to shoot at a pond for no reason. It's quite a production (laughs). It's really cool.

And, yeah, it's been a nice challenge, honestly. It's something that you'd never think you’d get to do. And so, the opportunity to push yourself to do those scenes, it's been really exciting.

Q: I'm guessing that Elliott will wind up in the pond sooner or later. Obviously, we can't discuss that right now. But let me ask you about Evan and the pond in season one.

Watching two of your costars go in and out of the water, were you relieved at staying dry, or did you regret not being able to join in the fun?

Evan Williams: You know, I regretted not being able to show my solidarity, because we shoot in Canada – and we shoot in Canada right up until, last year, in the middle of December. And so, it got pretty cold. Knowing that my costars had to get in there, and were shaking in their boots afterwards – and me, I'm just happy as a clam in my jacket – I felt a little opulent; a little decadent.

So, if need be, I would have been happy to get in there, too – sort of show that I was part of the team, and so they didn't feel alone in it. But I would be lying if also I wasn't a little relieved (laughs).

Sadie Laflamme-Snow as Alice Dhawan. (Credit: ©2023-24 Hallmark Media/photographer: Peter Stranks)


Q: It's interesting: Looking at what my peers have been writing about this series, everything from, “It's such a break from traditional Hallmark,” to, “This is what Hallmark could be” – or perhaps should be. … There's no sort of Hallmark template for this, certainly. And so, I'm wondering, how did you hear about this project? What was the appeal to you about this series, but also what appealed to you about the character in particular?

Sadie Laflamme-Snow: I think there's this exciting opportunity to break the mold, in a way, while also staying really true to what people sit down to watch Hallmark for in the first place, which I think is like these really strong relationships and this strong sense of home, and a strong sense of family, and those things being at the core of the show – while also the twist of involving time travel and this kind of family drama that leans really heavily into the drama side of things.

I think, for me, one of the things that really struck me was also even just the music aspect. I am a singer. I love music. It was my first love – even before acting. And so, that kind of jumped out to me. I was like, “Oh, I think there's something extra here that's really speaking to me.”

I remember shooting the audition scene and saying to my friend who was reading for me, “I think something happens to this little boy.” And she was like, “I think you're reading into it. I don't know. Don't underline it so much in the scene.” I'm like, “No, no, no; I just have this gut feeling that something really terrible is going to happen to this little boy.”

So, for that to all come true once I ended up being able to read the full script and see the arc of the season, you look back on those moments and go, “Oh, I had a gut feeling about this story.” And I had a connection to it right away. Like, it jumped off the page for me.

And so, I think there’s all these little signs. Hindsight is 20/20. So, you’re going, “Oh, I knew this,” and “I knew that.” It really did mean something to me right away.

Evan Williams plays Elliott Augustine on the Hallmark Channel series “The Way Home.” (Credit: ©2023-24 Hallmark Media/photographer: Peter Stranks)


Evan Williams: When I first heard about the show, what struck me was how out of pocket it was for Hallmark. I love to be a part of something that is trying to flip the script. I think that's really exciting to me as an artist.

And I think that I wasn't alone in that. I was pleased to find out when I started that, top to bottom – both in front of the camera and behind the camera – the shared mandate among everybody was that we were going to try to do something different than Hallmark had ever seen before. So, it was a big leap, and it paid off.

It paid off not only sort of how we had pictured it, but it excelled beyond our wildest dreams. Like, people are in love with the show, which is best-case scenario. So, I absolutely am thrilled to be a part of it.

And with the character, what I loved was, with Elliot, you have the opportunity to play pathos; and a really interesting conundrum of a guy who was sort of told his future 20 years ago – and then, lo and behold, 20 years later he is exactly what the prophecy foretold. What kind of guy spends that 20 years in the interim? How does that change a person? What does that make a person do and change as a human animal?

So, that was really interesting, while also having the opportunity to play comedy. Elliott has some beautiful moments of lightness and levity, which I knew were going to be important for a show that has the emotional thrust like “The Way Home,” because there is some subject matter which really goes there. They tackle family trauma, estrangement, grief, loss of a child – these things are serious.

They investigate that through a holistic lens, so there's a lot of opportunity for lots of healing, through tears. A lot of people tell me how much they cried for the show. And the flip side of that is how much of a relief getting to laugh every once in a while is.

So, I really relish the opportunity with Elliot to crack some jokes and also be the butt of the joke a little bit. I love doing that. I love playing a character that doesn't get it. And Elliot's not a hero, per se; he's not like your classic hero.

I'm trying to support the beta male – the one who is not necessarily the captain of the football team, but try to get inside the heart of somebody who is trying. Who really cares. And is trying his best.

I think that audiences are along for that ride, as well.



Q: I love the moments of levity … but as you mentioned, Elliot certainly was dealing with a lot as we got toward the end of season one, processing everything he had been through. As we enter season two, where is your character? Where is he geographically, and where is he emotionally?

Evan Williams: So, at the end of season one, when he decides that, even though he seems to have the opportunity to have everything he wanted – he could have Kat right there on his doorstep – he decides that he needs to forge his own path and be true to himself.

That choice carries him through to the beginning of season two, where he's lived out on the road for seven months, traveling the world, and then returns – and kind of has to deal with the ramifications of that choice. And it's not necessarily what he might have pictured, especially since that decision. It might be a decision you make almost impulsively in a moment. But the requirement is that you show up for it. And it's a journey.

And so, I think Elliot struggles a lot in season two. And maybe in season one the theme was sort of “Poor Elliot; he's the one who's always there. He's going to be there no matter what.”

I think we see Elliott challenge that, even within himself, and say, “Maybe that's not who I am. Maybe who I truly am, and who I can show up authentically as, is somebody who needs to figure out how to take care of himself first.” But that's also not always welcome.

We see him learn how to kind of like grow up. He kind of comes back thinking that he's going to be Elliott 2.0, and that he even half solved it. But he has far from solved it. In fact, he kind of flies right back into a hornet's nest.

David Webster plays teenage Elliott, and Sadie Laflamme-Snow stars as Alice Dhawan on “The Way Home.” (Credit: ©2023-24 Hallmark Media/photographer: Peter Stranks)

What happened to Jacob? Remy Smith as Jacob Landry on “The Way Home.” (Credit: ©2023-24 Hallmark Media/photographer: Peter Stranks)


Q: There's a scene in one of the episodes in season one where your character is sitting at a table with Nick’s moms and they're sort of asking what her relationship status is. And I'm thinking, “You know, she's really taking this time travel thing very much in stride.” Obviously, there are more dramatic moments. There's more serious, sad moments. And, obviously, at that point, too, you're still developing this character. You're still trying to figure out what she's going to be, working with the writers and your team.

From what you know about this character, what makes her able to handle this very unimaginable thing as well as she does?

Sadie Laflamme-Snow: It's funny that you bring up the kind of absurdity of the situation, which she often finds herself in these situations where people are challenging her to confess what she knows about time travel.

You know, at the first dinner (in 1999), when she meets the family for the first time, and everyone's saying, “Where are you from?” And she says, “Oh, you know, I'm from the states, and I just moved here.” None of these things are untrue, but she's always walking the line of, like, not telling the full story, or “My mom and I just moved here.” Or even she says to Colton on the last time that she ever sees him. He says, “Your mom will have to come by sometime and I'll have to meet her.” And she says, “Yeah, you will have to meet her. I think you'd really like her.” And little does he know she's talking about his daughter.

I think it's been really fun, as an actor, to say those things. It's kind of like with a double meaning. And you're holding this thing where everything you're saying is true, but it would be a completely different meaning in another timeline.

The thing about Alice that makes that possible is I think she's really brave. She knows that she can get herself out of the situation, I think. She's been in some pretty weird ones through the time travel experience, and there hasn't been anything that – without her mom, especially – that she can't handle.

I think in some of the hardest moments she's really leaned on her mom, but, in general, she's gotten out of some pretty, really weird (situations). Even just falling in love in the past. That's a pretty weird scenario and she's made it through those moments. And so, I think she just kind of approaches everything with this confidence of like, you know, “I made it out before, and I'm going to make it this time.”

The pond really challenges her – in this season, too – for that reason.

Q: They say that fear and excitement are basically the same emotion. It just basically depends on which one you lean into more.

What we saw from you, in terms of your character’s growth, the journey, the emotions that you had to express on screen, that's something that we normally would see maybe over two or three seasons on a lot of shows. For you to have to do that over the course of the first 10 episodes, what was the emotion? What was the balance between fear and excitement, having to do what you did in bringing that character from where she started to where we saw her at the end?

Sadie Laflamme-Snow: That's a great question.

With television, you learn the story as you're shooting it often. We were getting the scripts one or two at a time. And so, people would start getting the scripts and then they would read them before me – and I'd be like, “Don't tell me! Don’t tell me! I don't want any spoilers.”

So, I think in a way, I had a similar experience to the audience, in that I was going from this on-the-page Alice, (who) is this kind of reserved, angry teenage girl, to this really courageous, responsible, powerful young person, who is trying to put her family back together over the course of the season.

I think the other thing that happens is you eventually get more and more comfortable on set. So, as the show demands more of you, maybe in an emotional capacity, you create a relationship with everyone at home and in the project that allows for you to really go there in a way that, maybe on the first day, it might be a little bit harder to do.

It's been really nice. I feel like I've grown with the character, and I feel like season two is we’re looking ahead at even a lot more growth for Alice. A lot more situations that put that confidence to the test, and put her into situations that I don't know if she knew she could handle.

Chyler Leigh is Kat Landry and Sadie LaFlamme-Snow is Alice Dhawan on “The Way Home.” (Credit: ©2023-24 Hallmark Media/photographer: Peter Stranks)


Q: Kat has had some really fantastic moments where we've gotten to see her value as a person, her value to the family and the community. But those have been moments that we have seen. Those have not necessarily been moments Elliot has seen to this point.

With that being the case, what does he see in her – beyond the childhood crush?

Evan Williams: I think the love between Elliot and Kat is elemental. It seems like it's something that has persisted over now decades. And with the added element of time travel sort of throwing a whole extra dimension into it, it seems like they are just kind of magnetically drawn together. And it's almost sort of like they feel a little star-crossed in a way.

But maybe in a previous iteration of storytelling that Hallmark might have employed, they would want to sort of put a bow on it and have it resolved. Whereas the storytelling that “The Way Home” wants to get into is a little more nuanced and ongoing, and more representative of real life – which means that nothing is pure and clean. There's always bumps in the road, and there are revelations that come about in season two that will challenge everything.

And so, we're hoping that audiences also feel rewarded by that and see themselves in it a little bit.

Q: What is it like to be on a show where a second actor is playing your character – and really emulating you, to some extent?

Evan Williams: It's super cool. I've never done something like this before.

And I will say there’s a certain amount of luck. We didn't do chemistry reads before season one. So, the fact that David Webster, who plays young Elliot, and I, are such a good match – you know, anyone can match in a picture. But the fact that there's actually like a certain, I don’t know, some indescribable quality between us that reads as Elliot, is just like chef’s kisses. It's like, it didn't have to happen, but, for whatever reason, it happened and, across the board, the casting with the young actors has been so phenomenal.

I think that it's really cool because, especially in season two, we already have, now, 10 episodes, through season one, of getting to watch each other's performance. And so now, he knows – he's picked up so many of my mannerisms, and I picked up so many of his – that we're kind of throwing Easter eggs to each other as we're shooting, to try to further connect and sort of like pollinate our performances in a way, which is really cool.

And when you add in the extra dimension of writers, talented writers like we have on this show, who are paying attention to the performances, then you have a whole other dimension, because they're watching what we're both doing and picking up little ideas and throwing them in. So, it just is a confluence, and the result is so creative and rewarding, and it makes everybody look like we're at the top of our game.

It's really great to collaborate, and the end result is that the audience gets to enjoy a story that is richer and fuller and less expected, as well.

Season two just goes further in the direction of the unexpected. And I think that's become the calling card of the show, that the show develops at a quick pace.

It could have been conceivable that the end result of season one would be that Kat finds out about time travel. They could have stretched that out to try and give themselves more runway. But I think she finds out in episode four, and then they just keep moving on from there.

And that clip, like it just continues to escalate. Season two begins right where season one left off. And it continues at that clip, with so many answers that audiences are looking for, and being immediately replaced by multiple questions that just keep the investigation widening out and becoming more complex and more exciting.



Q: I understand there is a swear jar on set. Is that true? I understand it’s primarily because of Chyler and Andie. If that is, in fact, the case, who's leading the contest at this point.

Sadie Laflamme-Snow: I mean, it's a set where people like to have fun, get silly.

I was going to say a tie across the board, but there might be a few winners. I don't know (laughs).

Q: You’ve got to raise that pizza money, right?

Sadie Laflamme-Snow: Exactly. And you know what, at the end of the day, everyone has their own process of getting there. Like you said, that nervous excitement, whether it’s fear or excitement for the scene, or just fear of screwing up your lines, or fear of not making the scene that you really want to make. Sometimes that comes out in unexpected ways (laughs).

But overall, it's a really warm set. Everyone feels like it's a good place to be themselves.

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