ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Best. Christmas. Ever! stars Brandy Norwood and Heather Graham about Netflix‘s holiday comedy movie. The duo discussed their feelings about the holiday season and their favorite Christmas movies. The film is now available to stream on Netflix.
“Every Christmas Jackie sends a boastful holiday newsletter that makes her old college friend Charlotte feel like a lump of coal,” reads the movie‘s synopsis. “When a twist of fate lands Charlotte and her family on Jackie’s snowy doorstep just days before Christmas, she seizes the opportunity to prove her old friend’s life can’t possibly be that perfect.”
Tyler Treese: Brandy, there is this wonderful theme in the movie of second chances and being able to rebuild your life. What really attracted you to the project? It’s clear you all had a lot of fun filming it.
Brandy Norwood: Well, of course, that and the fact that I absolutely love Christmas. I love the holidays. I love what the script represented. Just the whole reconnection of my friends from school that I get a chance to see and spend the holidays with and share my positive outlook and find the good in everything. I think that’s what attracted me to it the most. I just had the best time working with the cast. It was such a great experience, and I’m glad that we got a chance to connect and do such a great film. Hopefully, it’ll be one of everyone’s favorites.
Heather, your character is so fun in this movie because you’re trying to expose Brandy’s perfect life, and it leads to some great comedy, but your character’s insecurities are also inherently relatable to the audience. I think we all know, be it through Instagram or social media, that person. We’re like, “There’s got to be a catch.” Can you speak to that role of Charlotte? What went into your character there?
Heather Graham: Yeah, I guess I did find when I read the script that it was relatable. I hate to admit it, but I don’t really like Christmas. I am a Grinch, I am Scrooge. Whenever Christmas comes around, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, turn off those Christmas carols. I hate them! Oh, Christmas trees — yuck!” [Laughs]. But no, I want to change my attitude because, obviously, why not enjoy it?
Brandy Norwood: Yeah, girl!
Heather Graham: Yeah, you’re right. Brandy helped me because she really does genuinely enjoy Christmas and I think, even whether it’s Christmas or not, it’s easy to compare yourself to other people and be like, “Oh, well why am I not blah, blah, blah, blah?” You know? I like the message of the movie that to find the gratitude and just like, I think … maybe some people are perfect and never have those moments, but I think a lot of people could relate to it — me included. Of course you have those moments, but then how do you let it go and get into appreciating the good in your life?
Brandy, you just released a Christmas album, so you really are having the best Christmas ever. What is it like having a movie and a record both coming out around the same time? To see all this hard work go out into the world at the same time has to be very exciting.
Brandy Norwood: It feels very good. It feels like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, you know? I’m continuing to inspire people and do what I love to do. It just feels like the right thing. I haven’t had a Christmas album in my entire career, so it’s absurd that fans have been asking for a Christmas album all this time, and I didn’t do that for them. So what better way than to have a Christmas movie and Christmas music out all at the same time? I just think that I was very blessed to be able to do that and I’m excited about it, and everybody seems to be responding well to the Christmas carols. We just have to get Heather involved in the album because —
Heather Graham: I know. You’re right!
Brandy Norwood: Because she doesn’t like Christmas carols.
Heather Graham: No, I love your voice. I have to say, Brandy, you have inspired me to like Christmas more and watching this movie … Of course, as a kid, I loved Christmas, but I don’t know. At a certain point, I started to hate it. But you are inspiring me with your genuine love of Christmas to start loving Christmas more.
Brandy Norwood: Okay, good.
I was talking to the director earlier, and she said during filming, you could see you’re a bit like your characters, but you could see both of you rubbing off on each other. I can see it now where Heather’s coming around on Christmas. That’s very fun.
Heather Graham: Well, I hope my neuroticness doesn’t rub off on Brandy, but Yes.
Brandy Norwood: Oh, no, no, no. [Laughs].
Heather Graham: No, no. [Laughs].
Heather, one element of the film I really loved was Jason Biggs as your husband. Can you talk about your chemistry together? You play off of each other well and you can tell they have this great love for each other, even if they’ve had some issues and there’s some jealousy going on.
Heather Graham: Oh, that’s amazing. I’m glad you felt that way. I’ve watched his work through the years and admire him. I really love comedy, so somebody like him who’s just so naturally funny and so great with comedy and just in the moments when we’re shooting, he just comes up with the funniest things to add or the funniest expressions or like slurping his drink. He just adds so much fun to every moment, even when we’re not shooting, he’s just always coming up with really hilarious things to say and do and he’s just a great person to be around.
Brandy Norwood: Without even trying, he’s so funny.
Heather Graham: It’s his natural way of being, to find the funniest thing to say in every moment.
Brandy, you get not one chance to sing, but two in this movie. How great is it when you get the blend both of your loves — the two arts that you’re so great at, acting and music, and combine them into all one experience?
Brandy Norwood: Such gratitude for that. I remember when I did Broadway, it completely changed my life because of that. Act, sing, dance, all in one moment. I just absolutely love singing in the movie. I’m so glad they asked me to do it. They were trying to go with another singer. I was like, “No, y’all got me. Why can’t we figure something out?” And we figured it out. [Laughs].
Heather Graham: Brandy’s voice’s very fun. You hear it in person — of course you’re like, “Oh, you’re a famous singer” — but you hear it in person, you’re like, “Oh my God.” Her voice is amazing, you know?
Brandy Norwood: Thank you, Heather!
Heather, I have to ask about your scariest costar — Monkey Bob. There’s some jump scares with it and it’s a pretty creepy doll. What was your reaction when you saw this doll that would be this reoccurring nightmare throughout the film for you?
Heather Graham: I think I felt the same way as my character does, which is that it’s creepy, You’re like, “Okay, it’s my son’s favorite toy. I can’t just throw it in the trash.” But that was my feeling.
Brandy Norwood: You really thought that Monkey Bob was creepy?
Heather Graham: It was, but you liked Monkey Bob, right?
Brandy Norwood: I did! [Laughs].
Heather Graham: Brandy’s got a positive attitude.
Brandy Norwood: But you thought Monkey Bob was so creepy! [Laughs].
Heather Graham: I think he’s creepy. I mean, if that was my kid, it’d be like, “Let’s find you a better toy.”
Brandy, Madison Skye Validum — who plays your daughter, this genius child — is wonderful in the movie. Can you speak about working with her? It seems like she has such a bright future.
Brandy Norwood: Yeah, she has such a bright future. I couldn’t believe what she was doing with those lines! She knew those lines like the back of her hand. I was so impressed and I was so impressed with her poise. She was just so great to be around. And her mom was just awesome. I can’t wait to see what she does in the future.
I can’t wait either. Heather, you said you were a fan of Christmas at first. You grew out of it, but have there been any Christmas movies that always have that warm spot in your heart? Or do you not have a go-to?
Heather Graham: As a kid, I used to watch like these animated clay … there was one that was like, “I’m Mr. Heat Miser, I’m Mr. Cold.” It was like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but they’re made out of clay. It was very early animation. I love those movies so much.
Brandy, I’d love to know what your go-to like Christmas movies are as well.
Brandy Norwood: Home Alone. Are you kidding me? Home Alone!
Heather Graham: Of course, It’s a Wonderful Life. Got to throw that in there.
Brandy Norwood: Yeah, It’s a Wonderful Life.