Interview: Bruce Boxleitner Rings More Than “Silver Bells”

Silver Bells Bruce Boxleitner

Bruce Boxleitner, Star of “Silver Bells”
Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment

Bruce Boxleitner currently co-stars with Andie MacDowell on Hallmark Channel’s first-ever primetime series, “Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove” the #1 rated series airing on Saturday evenings. Boxleitner’s character, Bob Beldon is the owner of the Cedar Cove Inn, Thyme and Tide. The series is based on the popular book series CEDAR COVE by #1 NY Times best-selling author Debbie Macomber. The series has been renewed for a second season.

Bruce is a longtime favorite with sci-fi and western fans worldwide. He starred with Jeff Bridges in TRON:LEGACY, the popular motion picture sequel to Disney’s cult film TRON.  In addition, he co-starred with Lindsay Wagner in Hallmark’s THE THANKSGIVING HOUSE special which premiered on November 2, 2013 and co-stars in the Christmas movie SILVER BELLS which premiered on the UP Network and is now available on DVD.

Jennifer Williams:  How did you get started in acting?

Bruce Boxleitner:  Oh my gosh!  That is a hundred years ago!  I started in high school.  I didn’t make the basketball team, even as tall as I am. I just sort of wandered into an audition for the fall play [during] my sophomore year.  I loved movies and television, but I wasn’t really exposed to a lot of theatre where I lived.  It was just something that I got into.  I started to love it and I’ve wanted to do it ever since then.  I had that dream and there is very few people who can say that they succeeded in living that dream.

After I started, I went to drama school out of high school and one thing led to another with auditions over the years.  I started out in Chicago, then I moved onto New York and finally I came out here to Hollywood in the 1970s.  I am a very fortunate and lucky man.

Jennifer Williams:  What do you enjoy most about acting?

Bruce Boxleitner:  It is a creative outlet… I can’t intellectualize or explain it.  It is just something I do.  I enjoy living other lives I guess or exploring themes in the human experience.  I never really thought about it… except it is a ball to do and I can’t believe that they actually pay me to do it.

silver bells poster photoJennifer Williams:  You are well worth what they are paying you!  Well, what attracted you to Silver Bells?

Bruce Boxleitner:  It was just a good script and [it had] a good lead character in Bruce Dalt.  I got the script and then was watching the evening news and I saw our local sportscaster… and I thought “This could be lots of fun.”  The message of “Silver Bells” is an appealing message and it is a universal one about redemption, finding out the important things in life and the true meaning of the Christmas season.  It was well written and I thought it was going to be a lot of fun.

Jennifer Williams:  It sure was to watch you play him in “Silver Bells.”

Bruce Boxleitner:  [Bruce Dalt] was a fun character to do and as a more seasoned veteran now, [one of the] things that appealed to me to… that he didn’t need to take the credit any more.  He was such a competitive guy.  Over-the-top competitiveness.  And he learned even at that age, it isn’t the most important thing in life.  There was also the father-son storyline there that I am always a sucker for.  I raised three boys and they are all wonderful, young men now and I’m always tearing up at stories like that.  I think that is just something that is a very natural thing for men.  Our fathers are such important characters.  That is an important theme in contemporary America right now… how important a father is in the household as a role model.  Bruce didn’t start out as such a good father in “Silver Bells” and ultimately, it is his son who teaches him a lesson

 Jennifer Williams:  Is it hard to make a Christmas film so far in advance of the Christmas season it is going to be released in?

Bruce Boxleitner:  Well, winter hung in a long time there in Michigan because those weren’t fake snow drifts!  The rose in my cheeks… that was the real deal.  That was the real deal.  It was cold there.  We shot it in the streets of Manatee and Grand Rapids.  It is real America, not some Hollywood backlot.

Jennifer Williams:  The K-Mart bell-ringing scenes definitely looked cold!

Bruce Boxleitner:  It was.  That was one long, long day!  I was so wind-burned because there was a brisk wind blowing while we were shooting outside.  Then, standing on cement all day in those boots… my back was feeling it.  But ultimately, I think we got some of the best parts of the picture.  We had the most fun there (at K-Mart) as we did a lot of improvisation there, just went off script.  And they used most of it too.  It was fun.  We were dealing with real people half of the time and we weren’t allowed to impede the front of the store.  People were coming and going.  Often times, there I was ringing the bell and several ladies came up and put money in the bucket.  I kept trying to dissuade them and I said, “No, I’m not real.  We are doing a movie here.”  The ladies would say, “No, it is okay.  I give every year.”  I told them I wasn’t really with the Salvation Army and they tell me not to worry about it because they love to give [to the Army].  So we ended up trying to return the money to the people, but they insisted I kid you not.  But what does that say?  It is so beautiful.  Doesn’t matter, they felt good in doing it and we did get a good amount of money.  But at the end of the two days (of shooting), we gave it to the Salvation Army.

Jennifer Williams:  That is a great story.  Now that “Silver Bells” is being released… any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?

Bruce Boxleitner:  Currently, I am doing a series called “Cedar Cove” for the Hallmark Channel.  That is starring Andie MacDowell.  We’ve already had our first season.  We were #1 on cable television on Saturday nights at the eight o’clock hour for this last season and so we start shooting that again in March.  I also have a project that I am producing and the co-creator of… we are awaiting a decision on that.  It is more of a genre piece called “Lantern City,” a science-fiction type of epic along the lines of “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire.”  We’ve been working on that for almost two years in development and we have a whole production team.  So we are doing the dance of shopping it around town.  That’s kind of my passion project for me and “Cedar Cove” and “Silver Bells” have been the day job.

Acting isn’t the only thing.  I’ve been interested in Directing as well.  I’ve had the opportunity and so, what you do is you create your own opportunities.  I’ve been Producer/Director on “Lantern City” as well.

Jennifer Williams:  Good luck with those projects and thank you for your time, Bruce.  Merry Christmas!

Bruce Boxleitner:  Merry Christmas!

About the Author:

Jennifer Williams is an accomplished writer, interviewer and critical reviewer having written about or covered many subjects of interests. Having graduated from Tulane University, La Salle University and New York University, Kevin's career background in Politics and Civic Affairs, Public Relations, Marketing, Non-Profit Management and Filmmaking have helped inspire much of her past artistic and creative efforts. Jennifer directed and co-produced the documentary feature film, Fear Of A Black Republican. Her latest film, Rebel Song, looks at a middle-aged American Celtic Rock band and the music inspired by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Rebel Song is expected to be released in 2014. In addition to The Williams View, Jennifer is also the Entertainment and Politics Editor for Politisite, a Contributing Writer for Townhall, Breitbart's Big Hollywood, Liberatchik and Hip Hop Republican. Jennifer has been interviewed or profiled across many Media outlets such as the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Philadelphia Inquirer, Kansas City Star, L.A. Weekly; Current TV, Christian Broadcasting Network, Huffington Post Live, Al Jazeera and BET News; radio programs ranging from National Public Radio, Voice of Russia - American Edition, the Mark Davis Radio Show, the Chris Stigall Show, the Steve Deace Show, the Bob Grant Show, Victoria Taft Show, to the Michael Eric Dyson Show and many others.

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