Mario Lopez and his daughter Gia in Holiday in Santa Fe
Saved by the Bell star Mario Lopez knows a thing or two about getting into the holiday spirit. He has starred in and produced the Christmas television movies A Very Merry Toy Store and Feliz NavidDAD, "I love this genre," he says. Lopez continues with his latest film, Holiday in Santa Fe, premiering on Lifetime on December 10. The 48-year-old plays Tony Ortega, a hopeless romantic who helps run his family's holiday décor business. Ortega quickly falls for an attractive executive who wants to acquire the company. Lopez spoke about what makes this holiday movie different, his own family's traditions and more.
Holiday in Santa Fe premieres in just a few days! Tell us about the film and what to expect?
Holiday in Santa Fe is special, it contains universal themes that everyone can relate to which is family and romance. I am so happy with the movie and the way it turned out. What I love most about it, is that it is geographically different and not set in your typical town. We are in the Southwest which isn't normally seen. We also have a little sprinkling of Latin flavor and influence in the movie. I'm especially excited because my daughter is in it, she plays my niece. It's fun and it's funny. I really hope people tune in and have a good time.
What was it like working with your daughter, Gia Lopez?
She made me so proud, it was great. She was such a little professional. She knew all her lines as well as mine, she helped me out and made it easier for me. We had a blast on set.
As a producer on the project, what do you think the secret ingredient is to making the best holiday movie?
It's very important for the film to have heart as well as something that empowers the story to celebrate the true spirit and essence of the holidays. When it comes to this genre, a lot of it is family, that's what it symbolizes. Remembering to add in a little romance doesn't hurt and it has to be pretty to look at.
What are some of your family holiday traditions?
My wife is Italian and I'm Mexican, so aside from the normal holiday fixings, it is a tradition of ours to have a lot of Italian and Mexican food which is my favorite. During the holidays at our home, there's always an abundance of food and drinks, music, dancing, and watching movies. It's always fun times.
During the holidays, what's your favorite television shows or films to watch?
I like the oldies, the television specials that feature performers such as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. I watched those with my grandparents growing up. My favorite special must have dancing and a music component to it, those are timeless.
Holiday in Santa Fe premieres December 10 at 8/7c on Lifetime.
For more stories celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, click HERE.