The Salinger siblings are back together on the small screen — well, at least two of them are! Lacey Chabert and Scott Wolf, who played Claudia and Bailey Salinger on the '90s family drama Party of Five, reunite to play estranged siblings in Hallmark Channel's latest holiday movie, A Merry Scottish Christmas. For the pair, the onscreen reunion was more than two decades in the making.
"Since we wrapped Party of Five 23 years ago, I have had the hope that we would work together again," Chabert told TV Guide at Hallmark's "Countdown to Christmas" event on Nov. 15 in Los Angeles. "[Scott]'s always been a part of my life, and a dear friend and family, and it was so exciting that we had the chance to reunite and tell this story together. It was a dream come true."
"We could have only dreamed that there'd be this amount of excitement about it. We knew it felt special to us. We hoped it'd feel special to fans of the show," Wolf, who starred in 2019's A Christmas Love Story with Kristin Chenoweth, told TV Guide.
The Nancy Drew alum recalled fans were already pitching a team-up then. "Once there was a little chatter about it, she and I started talking about it and loved the idea of finding something to do together — we love each other — and thought it would be really fun to reunite. Thankfully, the network agreed and they were the ones who came to us with this story."
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In A Merry Scottish Christmas, estranged brother and sister Brad (Wolf) and Lindsay (Chabert) travel to Scotland at Christmas to be with their mother, Jo (Fiona Bell). While there, they learn a big family secret that changes the course of their relationship.
"I was really excited that they decided to allow us to tell a story about brothers and sisters at Christmas," Chabert said. "There are two romantic storylines in the movie that are obviously beautiful and important, but it was nice that the crux of the movie and the center of the movie is really these siblings and how they find their way back to one another through this very unexpected news that they learn about their family."
It's a slight departure for Hallmark to have a movie, much less a Christmas title, be as family-focused as this one is — with romance serving as a side dish. And no, Wolf revealed there was never a discussion for him and Chabert to play love interests.
"We knew from Day 1 it was not going to be a romantic relationship between Lacey and I," the 55-year-old actor shared. "No one even brought it up. No one even had the gall to suggest it, thank God! No, right from the beginning we knew it would be a sibling story, which was wonderful. It's a little half-step outside the box [for Hallmark]."
"You know how a lot of these stories unfold. There's definitely romance and there's definitely all the things that people love about these Hallmark holiday films," Wolf noted. "But there's a really beautiful, complicated sibling relationship at the center of it. It winds up being about family and how complicated family can be sometimes. And how important it is, if you can, to always stay together and lean in and heal wounds and reunite if you've drifted apart."
He credited Hallmark for continuing to diversify its storytelling. "The scope of the stories they want to tell and the characters they want to tell stories about is expanding, and I think that's a great thing for everyone," Wolf said. "We were really proud to be part of a story that felt like a bit of an evolution from what people have come to expect."
Stepping back onto set for A Merry Scottish Christmas, which was filmed on location,was like no time had passed for both Chabert and Wolf. "We feel like brother and sister to each other," the actor said. "In many ways, it just fits. You can almost plug us into any brother and sister story, and it would just work. Obviously, the dynamic is very different from what we played on Party of Five, but I've always loved working with Lacey. It's been a long time since we got a chance to really work together. She's still the same authentic, talented, committed human and actor, and it was just a joy."
With two of the Salinger siblings firmly ingrained in the Hallmark family, who else from the cast — which included Matthew Fox and Neve Campbell — does Wolf want to reel in? "All of 'em!" he exclaimed. "I would reel them all in if I could. We'll see, we'll see."
Chabert hopes people will feel the warmth and the nostalgia when they tune in to A Merry Scottish Christmas this weekend.
"I hope they feel what we felt, which was the joy of being together again and the nostalgia of reminiscing about all of the memories we shared together and this beautiful new experience and new story," the actress said. "With every movie I do for Hallmark, I hope it brings joy to people's living rooms."
A Merry Scottish Christmas premieres Nov. 18 at 8/7c on Hallmark Channel.