Behind the Scenes: HGTV’s Ben & Erin Napier Film New Christmas Movie
Story by: Liv Lane - Heavy.com
Erin and Ben Napier are about to become movie stars! It’s been a busy year for the stars of HGTV‘s “Home Town,” from moving into their new home to shooting a new season of “Home Town Takeover” in Fort Morgan, Colorado. But none of that stopped them from also filming their first movie, “A Christmas Open House,” with actors Katie Stevens and Victor Rasuk, set to premiere on November 11, 2022, exclusively on Discovery+. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Napiers in action…
In the movie, an Atlanta house stager played by Stevens has to work with her old high school crush, a realtor played by Rasuk, to get her mom’s home ready to sell before the holidays. With little time and competing goals, they lean on local artists Henry and Sarah Wright — played by the Napiers — for help.
Though much of the filming for “A Christmas Open House” took place in Atlanta, the production moved to Laurel, Mississippi, to film with the Napiers, according to press materials. In one scene shot inside the Napiers’ Scotsman woodshop, Henry — played by Ben — unveils a painted bench he’s made.
Though the characters of Melissa and David often butt heads throughout the movie, they do agree that the house needs a new, custom mantle for the fireplace. But it would take a Christmas miracle to get one made before the holiday, when a prospective buyer is planning to show up and tour the home. That’s when they turn to “expert craftsman Henry Wright and his artist/designer wife, Sarah” to see if there’s any chance they can make it happen.
Director Emily Moss Wilson said the movie offered a new kind of challenge for her, given that she’d never based a film around a home transformation like the Napiers are used to doing on every show they film.
“Design and renovation are so big right now, so to have that be a featured part of our story within the framework of Christmas was very appealing to me,” she said. “Over the past five years, I have directed a handful of holiday projects, but this one brought an interesting home renovation storyline, which was something I’d never done before and made me excited to jump onboard.”
And the renovations, she revealed, were not made with Hollywood magic.
“We were actually transforming a real house,” she said. “It’s not smoke and mirrors; we were genuinely making those physical changes. It was exciting for me to figure out with our production design team and our logistics team how we were going to do that and shoot in this house at the same time. It was not easy, and I hope that when everybody sees it, they will see the hard work that we put into it.”
The characters the Napiers had to play in “A Christmas Open House” were not a huge stretch, given that the roles were based on their real lives, but their scenes still required them to memorize their lines and act, which Wilson said they nailed.
“This was their first scripted acting job, and they absolutely killed it,” she said. “They fit into their roles so seamlessly and I’m excited for their fans to see them in a slightly different way.”
Erin even got to show off her musical talents during a scene at a karaoke bar in Laurel, in which she’s seen at the mic with her blue acoustic guitar, with her husband and Rasuk singing backup. When Erin was younger, she was in a band and still periodically performs at special events and friends’ weddings. She even performed “Amazing Grace” with a friend during an episode of “Home Town” in 2020.
Erin said it was a thrill to be included in the movie, which is one of four holiday films featuring reality stars from Warner Bros. Discovery channels. One features HGTV’s Hilary Fall from “Love It or List It” and two others include Food Network stars Bobby Flay and Duff Goldman.
The only downside to the movie? Erin noticed Ben got a lot shorter after filming. When she shared an image of the movie poster on her Instagram Stories, she joked that they had to make her husband a foot shorter so he could fit the poster.
All four new Christmas movies, including the Napiers’ film, will begin streaming on November 11 via Discovery+, which requires a monthly subscription, starting at $4.99 a month after a free trial.