We all need something to help us stay sane and fill our hearts with warm thoughts, especially right now, so it was very good to hear that some of our favorite television options would, in fact, be coming back this year. One of the things millions of people look forward to every holiday season are the made-for-TV holiday films which populate the airwaves, generally beginning in late October. The Christmas romances of Lifetime are beloved, but with production on some of these movies taking place under strict new guidelines, the network had to come up with a strange approach for co-stars kissing on screen during the pandemic.
Something every film and TV production has to deal with while getting back to work right now is figuring out how to keep their crews and casts safe under the new guidelines. While I'm sure there have been many annoyances around separating crew members so that everyone can be as socially distant as possible, it's way harder to do that (and have it seem natural) when you're dealing with actors playing characters in a scene who are supposed to get all up on one another and do lovey-dovey things.
Even though everyone on set is being tested at regular intervals to help with this sort of dilemma, it doesn't mean that people aren't nervous about the idea of getting kissy with a near stranger right now. As Lifetime's head of programming, Amy Winter, told The Wrap, she and her team absolutely didn't want to put anyone at risk, so they began to troubleshoot options way before filming began. The result, in at least one case, was truly one of the strangest approaches, with Winter saying:
Everybody was incredibly concerned about, as we were figuring it out, making sure that we were following the best possible guidelines to keep people safe. We all sat down, even before we got started, saying, how is anybody even going to kiss in these movies, given the circumstances? And the greatest, oddest solution I’ve seen so far is people kissing through plexiglass that can be removed in post, which is absolutely phenomenal.
Wow. That is certainly taking the new filming protocols several steps beyond to make sure everyone can stay safe. This is not the first we've heard of some very original tactics being used to avoid interpersonal contact between actors. The Bold and the Beautiful has been using either the real life partners of its stars for all of its makeout scenes, or resorting to mannequins / sex dolls when such a switch can be implemented.
Of course, viewers will likely know that soap operas are way more focused on the horizontal business of adulthood than Lifetime Christmas movies, so none of these films should have had to go to such lengths for any of their productions. Typically, couples in these films do nothing more than kiss one time (frequently only at the very end), so the amount of plexiglass smooching would be blissfully limited.
According to Amy Winter, this particular solution was only used for the upcoming film Christmas Ever After, which will debut on December 6. And, the sorta kiss went down exactly as it sounds like it would, with stars Ali Stroker and Daniel di Tomasso having a large sheet of plexiglass situated between them for their big scene, which they then kissed in place of laying their lips on each other. The plexiglass will be removed with some editing effects before the movie hits Lifetime.
That's for the best, obviously, but I can't help but wonder what would have happened if they made the plexiglass part of the scene somehow. Talk about the weirdest, most original Christmas movie ever!
We can all see how the plexiglass kiss turned out when Christmas Ever After premieres on Lifetime, December 6 at 8 p.m. EST. For more to watch in the coming weeks, check out our guide to fall TV!