ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to actor Justin Hartley and director Charles Shyer about it The Noel Diary. The two vacation movies reviewed and the original novel the movie is based on. The Noel Diary is now available to stream via Netflix.
“When a best-selling author comes home for Christmas to sort out his mother’s estate, he finds a diary that holds secrets from the past,” reads the film’s synopsis.
Tyler Treese: Justin, there is such a rich history when it comes to Christmas movies and Netflix does such a great job of putting out a few fun ones every year. What was the most exciting thing about being a part of this film tradition with The Noel Diary?
Justin Hartley: For me it was the players involved – Charles and then the script. I really loved the script and I thought the character had a hard-to-reach place and quite a journey from start to finish. For these reasons, it was an easy decision for me. Those are all things you’re looking for, or at least all things I’m looking for. It ticked all the boxes. So for me I can’t wait. Let’s do this.
Charles, the book was so successful. What made you so special about this original novel that you wanted to adapt it, write the screenplay, and then direct it?
Charles Shyer: To be honest, I didn’t really read the novel from start to finish. There was a script that someone else had written based on the novel that I read, and I thought, “I know how to make this movie the kind of movie I want to make.” So I kept it not necessary to go back. I knew the novel was successful, but it was a very serious approach. I skimmed it but I didn’t go page by page. So I knew how to make it my own and I told Netflix what I was going to do with it and I had a lot of ideas and they went with it.
Tyler Treese: Justin, you know, this story cuts across the entire emotional spectrum. Her character deals with grief, forgiveness and opening. You mentioned that the script really grabs you. What did you find most interesting about Jake’s journey here?
Justin Hartley: When I read it, I really loved the idea that… when I get a job and I’m intimidated by the journey the character is taking, it motivates me. I get dizzy and scared to play the role . When you’re like, “that’s a lot, that’s a really well-written character, a really great script, and I hope I can deliver,” then the juices start to flow. It’s almost like an athlete. You almost want that challenge, and this film absolutely had that. I love the fact that he’s embarking on this journey – actually for a number of reasons, and it’s difficult. It is not easy. It’s hard and he might not get what he wants. That sealed the deal for me.
Charles, there’s a really great scene in the movie with It’s a Wonderful Life. Is this your favorite Christmas movie?
Charles Shyer: Yes I would say it is. This is the scene we came up with and it wasn’t in the book or the other script. I wanted to pay homage to this film [ director Frank] capra I like the idea that they were the only ones who saw the movie with the dog at the end. I just like the overall concept. It really was a tribute to Capra. I wanted to do that. And that Barrett (Doss) says it’s the best movie she’s ever seen. I love that.