This year at New York Comic Con, I had the chance to speak with The Way Home stars Chyler Leigh, Evan Williams, and Sadie Laflamme-Snow! This was Hallmark Channel’s very first Comic-Con panel.
Kat Landry (Chyler Leigh), her teen daughter Alice (Sadie Laflamme-Snow) and Kat’s mother Del (Andie MacDowell) are all strong, willful and independent. More than 20 years prior, life-changing events prompted Kat to move away from her small, Canadian farm town causing her to be estranged from Del. At a crossroads in her life, Kat moves back with Alice to her family’s farm, though the reunion isn’t what Kat envisioned. When Alice and Kat unwittingly discover the ability to travel between the past and present, mother and daughter are determined to unearth the truth around the earlier tragedies as they try to change the course of events. Kat’s childhood friend Elliot (Evan Williams) is there for them in both eras as they navigate their journeys across time, helping the three women find their way back to each other.
During an in-person roundtable, I asked the actors about being the first Hallmark Channel series to be at NYCC and portraying important mental health stories. Keep reading for everything they told me.
We’re at New York Comic Con, can you tell me how you’re feeling right now, knowing that your fans are going to show up to support the show? I mean, there’s such an excitement for the panel. What is it like to be sitting here? It’s a huge, huge thing to be the first Hallmark show here.
Chyler Leigh: It’s the first time and you have us jokers up here, the ones that are gonna do it. No, it’s an honor. Who would’ve thought?
Evan Williams: Not me.
Sadie Laflamme-Snow: We told the crew on Friday night.
Leigh: We’re just like, “Guess where we’re going?!”
Laflamme-Snow: “Guess where we’re going,” and everyone was really proud. It’s, I think, just a moment of being able to celebrate how much of a ride we went on with the first season. So, to be together and just be able to talk about it, and kind of rehash all the details and everything that the audience and us as a team went through as the story kind of unfolded is really cool.
Williams: Yeah, and I think that idea that you’re gonna tell a story that you want the audience to be into, obviously, that’s what you want, but we had no way of knowing how deep into this the fans were gonna get. Like, we have so many people on the internet telling us that they’ve watched the show 3, [or] 4 times over just to try to find all the little clues and nerding out on their predictions and what they think is gonna happen…
Leigh: And really solid predictions. You’re kind of like, “Listen, quiet Nancy. Stop posting.”
Williams: There’s a few people we need to have silenced.
Laflamme-Snow: Yeah, people were getting really into the theories and I think it was something I didn’t really expect because, you know, you’re so emotionally invested in it that, for you, it’s like when you’re inside of those relationships, that’s really front of mind, but the level of detail that went into the show, there was a huge excitement about that. It was really fun for us to watch along and be like, “Oh my gosh, they saw it, they saw it! This is so cool.”
I am a firm believer that television and film are amazing ways to get messages across and for audiences to feel seen. Is there a storyline or a moment from the show where you felt represented or personally resonated with, or you were excited to see how the audience reacted to? And if you didn’t personally resonate with anything, have you had a fan come up to you and share that they were really touched or affected by something?
Leigh: Well, the scenes where Kat and Colton are in the therapy sessions together, every look on my face and reaction was genuine because I was listening to Jefferson just really speaking, and I won’t put words in his mouth, but it spoke a lot to his own personal experiences and ones that I’ve been part of as well, that the fact that he was going and doing these therapy sessions, but he almost felt a bit of shame, which is sort of why he did it without talking to Del, telling Del about it because he wanted to get to a certain place where he felt he was strong enough and ready enough to share that. I think that is so bang on with what actually happens. A lot of people will whisper, “Oh, yeah, I go to therapy,” you know what I mean? And it is something to be celebrated, but at the same time, it’s heavy to have to say that because then you’re admitting you’re flawed and you’re struggling, and that is such a huge part of the process that I think takes the longest for people to kind of be able to get past. So when you see, and hear me when I say this, when you see a man, who is a father and a husband, and where you don’t really often get to see men cry, when that’s kind of such a touchy subject, the fact that he did that and he went there, and the daughter got to see her daddy doing that, it was like, I’m a mess.
I have to comment on that because I just had a conversation about this. I feel like growing up for me, going to therapy was not discussed. If you went to therapy, that was not shared.
Leigh: It was shamed.
Now, I feel like we’re finally starting to get to a place where we can acknowledge mental health and how helpful therapy is, and it’s a little more accepted.
Laflamme-Snow: I think Kat and Del kind of, you see that in their generational approach to things and I think with Alice and Kat too, something that a lot of viewers were relating to is this idea of it’s not too late, we can fix it. But then everyone has a different idea of what fixing it looks like. Del is like, “I’m putting everything away. We’re not talking about it,” then we show up and we break everything apart, and Kat’s like, “Mom, talk to me,” and I’m off on my own sleuthing away. So it’s kind of like you get to see in time with the family how it takes time for people to unpack what’s happened in their family and that people’s approaches aren’t wrong. I think we can all identify with the different generations and different ways, and I think that’s a good thing for people to see as well.
Williams: I think the show does a good job of relating to grief as a state of being as opposed to an action. It’s like someone dies and you grieve, then you’re done and you do it, and grieving is different for everybody. You get to see how sometimes they fit together and sometimes they don’t, create some space, at least, for a discussion about it, a conversation.
Williams: And I think for Elliot, for my character, that similar sort of moving away from this textbook definition, for me, it’s about love and it’s about like, what’s the difference between unconditional love and people-pleasing? And how do you find yourself in love because so many of the stories that we hear are about losing yourself in love, right? That’s what we want, we want to be taken away by love, but that’s not life, that’s not how it actually works. And so, it was really fun for me to dig into how to find the actual lover in Elliot, which is this responsibility there, which we’re learning as our sort of culture gets to talk about it more that boundaries are important, communication is important to love, and being able to make mistakes and be forgiven is important to love. You don’t hear that in pop songs and you don’t usually see that in rom-coms either. So again, another risk that we’re taking and hopefully paying off.
Leigh: We had this scene where Elliot has that moment with Kat where he’s saying, “I need to have my own life. I need to have that.” Evan and I cried for like 10 minutes with each other. We literally just kind of held– you got it out. It was cathartic in so many different ways, but you look at it and go, that’s the power of what we can do and we’re getting to show it to an audience that might not otherwise have the opportunity to do so.
Williams: And that’s what’s fun about acting too is you get to finger paint the stuff that’s already inside you and put it in this fictional context. Sometimes surprise yourself too and you’re like, “Maybe I’m gonna go to therapy.”
Please note: ‘The Way Home’ is currently in production on Season 2 and is operating within strike rules under Global Rule 1. These rules allow the cast to participate in promotion of the show. In support of the strike, please donate to the Entertainment Community Fund.