Lifetime has greenlit holiday movie Secret Santa (working title), with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alumna Tatyana Ali, Emmy nominee Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers), Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years) and Brendan Fehr (Guardians of the Galaxy).
The two-hour original movie is currently shooting in Salt Lake City, Utah for premiere this winter.
The logline: Christmas is Hillary Nash’s (Ali) least favorite time of year. As the Senior Financial Analyst at the upscale Hudson Valley Outdoor Mall, she has to be the annual Christmas Grinch and cancel the leases of under-performing stores by the end of the year. One afternoon, her 8-year-old niece Molly, asks the mall Santa to help find a boyfriend for her beloved aunt. Unbeknownst to Molly, and Hillary, the mall Santa is just a substitute filling in and is actually Ryan McCue (Fehr), a lawyer-turned-artist who is decorating the mall for Christmas and trying to find his way after quitting his job and losing his fiancee. As Hillary and Ryan begin to fall for each other, they each don’t realize the other’s true identity: Hillary who is tasked with closing a failing gift wrap shop run by Ryan’s Aunt Patty and Ryan who is too ashamed to tell Hillary that he is the acting mall Santa. Cast also includes Kim Fields (The Facts of Life) and Jasmine Guy (A Different World).
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Sterling plays cheery Agnes, who along with her husband, played by Dan Lauria, run the mall cookie store, bringing a combination of sweetness, advice and answers to all.
Secret Santa is produced by Jeff Schenck (Sniper: Special Ops) of Aro Entertainment and Hybrid’s Brian Nolan (Christmas in Palm Springs). Markus Hill (Broadcasting Christmas) is associate producer.
Sterling, known for her standout role as Frau in the Austin Powers films, recently received two Emmy nominations in the same category for next month’s awards, Outstanding Actress Short Form Comedy or Drama, for Con Man alongside Alyn Tudyk and Nathan Fillion, and the Sandra Bernhard fueled Secs and EXECS. She’s also set for a key guest role on Netflix’s One Day At A Time. Sterling is repped by Prestige Talent Agency.
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