Andrew Walker knew fans would “love” his Christmas Island candy cane nod to pal Tyler Hynes — and it was totally spur of the moment.
“My character is Mr. Christmas. He is all in for Christmas,” Walker, 44, exclusively told Us Weekly of how the scene came about on Tuesday, November 14, while promoting his partnership with Envy Apples. “I’m on set getting ready to shoot this scene, and I’m just like, ‘I want to throw [on more],’ because I just had my jacket on in the scene.”
Walker, who plays the holiday-loving Oliver MacLeod in the 2023 Hallmark movie, recalled thinking there wasn’t enough Christmas spirit in his costume.
“I’m like, ‘No, no, guys, this guy’s, like, Mr. Christmas, let’s load him up with things. Throw a wreath around his neck or throw ribbon,’” he explained. “So once I had it all around my neck, I was like, ‘I’m missing something. I still feel like I need something.’”
Ultimately, Walker drew inspiration from the set itself — and his memories with Hynes, 37, in 2022’s Three Wise Men and a Baby. (Hynes and Walker have been friends for years and are actually related. Walker’s wife, Cassandra Troy, is one of Hynes’ cousins.)
“I looked at the Christmas tree and there’s some candy canes on the Christmas tree, and it just hit me in the moment. I was like, ‘I’m going to give a little nod to Tyler and I’m going to chew this thing like Tyler did in Three Wise Men,’” the actor told Us, confirming he knew viewers would “love anything with Tyler and I just ragging on each other or cameos with him.”
Hynes memorably chewed on a candy cane or had the treat hanging from his mouth throughout Three Wise Men and a Baby, which starred Hynes, Walker and Paul Campbell. In honor of the candy quirk, Walker did his own version in Christmas Island while decorating and making jokes about the holiday season.
“After the scene [had] a couple takes, [my costar] Rachel [Skarsten] turns to me and she’s like, ‘This character is the most weird guy I’ve ever acted across from.’ And I’m like, well, I guess life imitates art in a way because I’m also kind of a weirdo myself,” Walker joked.
In addition to his shout-out to Hynes in the film, Walker told Us that Christmas Island holds a special place in his heart for several reasons. “Working with people in Halifax and working with the maritime crews, they’re so great. They’re such giving people and they couldn’t do enough for us,” he explained, noting that the movie marks the first time Hallmark “has shot a movie in Canada for Canada and actually called out the location” which is Nova Scotia and Christmas Island.
The Sweet Autumn star added: “This movie … every day felt like it was just a new adventure. [It] felt really and yet spontaneous as well. And I love working with actors that want to play, and Rachel was ready to just jump into it with me. There was something special about this movie.”
Walker called Christmas Island one of his “top three favorite” Hallmark projects, telling Us that any film he’s done with Nikki DeLoach is “always” a top pick.
“I think A Dream of Christmas was a special one for us. It was our first movie we did together, and I think the story was just really heartfelt and I just loved that movie,” he revealed as his No. 2 choice, adding that his other top Hallmark movie is Three Wise Men and a Baby.
Three Wise Men is so iconic it’s getting an extended cut this holiday season on the network. The upcoming showing, which will air on Hallmark Movies Now Monday, November 27, will feature a cameo from Envy Apples as well, thanks to Walker’s recent partnership with the produce brand.
“I’ve also done a few Easter eggs with Envy Apples in other movies I’ve done — just having them on set and stuff like that, but they’re actually going to be called out in Three Wise Men,” Walker told Us of the collab. “You’ll see the Envy branding. How cool is that? It’s just amazing that they are so integrated already into the Hallmark brand and that one of probably my most beloved Hallmark movie, they’re going to showcase the product in. I’m thrilled to have them be involved.”
Learn more about Envy Apples on the brand’s website.
With reporting by Johnni Macke