Interview with Sara Canning of "Amish Abduction" on Lifetime - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Sara Canning as Annie

Interview with Sara Canning of "Amish Abduction" on Lifetime 11/6/19

It was great to speak with Sara because I've admired her work ever since "The Vampire Diaries," where she played Elena's aunt, Jenna. She's starring in this movie, where she plays an Amish mother whose husband has a lot of anger.  Don't miss in this Saturday, 11/9!

Here is the audio version of our call. Here's the transcript:

Suzanne: So, how did the part for this movie come about?

Sara: Ali Liebert, who is the director, is a very close friend of mine. She very kindly approached me with the script and said, "I'm doing my first ever feature film and I would love you to do it with me," and I would do anything with her. I was interested in the character from a perspective of approaching it from a faith, and what that specific Amish lifestyle... how it influences a story like this, but, yeah, it was definitely Ali that appealed to me.

Suzanne: Okay. Oh, well, so you didn't have to audition. That's nice.

Sara: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, I didn't.

Suzanne: Well, I watched it last night and I enjoyed it.

Sara: Oh good. Thanks.

Suzanne: Yeah. I like how, when it started, the husband, you kind of sympathize with him and your character's... she seemed a little mean, but then we find out that it's not what it seems like.

Sara: Yeah. I sort of approach everything just from, especially with this role, what are the core, fundamental belief systems, and she's just sort of doing her best within... Every upbringing has its very specific set of parameters, and I really try to look at that with every role that I approach. How that affects how the character might come across, how they speak to people, and how it motivates them.

Suzanne: Right. Yeah, and it helped, later in the movie, when they gave flashbacks to what had happened, when they were happier, and then she lost the baby and that kind of thing. That really helped.

Sara: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Suzanne: Had you worked with any of the cast and crew before?

Sara: Yes, many. Many of them. I hadn't actually worked with Ali as an... Ali's an actor as well, but we've just been friends for so long. Andrew McIlroy, who played my father, has actually been my coach and mentor for years. That was amazing, getting to work with him. Gabrielle Rose is amazing as well. She played my mother, and soon after shooting this film, actually, we did short film together in when she played my mom as well, but it's a comedy and a very different type of project. A lot of the cast involved, I knew them, they're friends, and that's the great thing with a director who has a lot of influence in casting and building the family that she wanted to work with. Yeah, it was a joy to work with all of [inaudible 00:03:17].

Suzanne: The actor who played your son was adorable.

Sara: Yeah. Yeah, he's a terrific actor. He's very sweet. Super professional.

Suzanne: Good, good. Did you enjoy playing an Amish woman?

Sara: Yeah. I've always been sort of fascinated by just religion in general, but especially something that's slightly more niche, like the Amish lifestyle. I find it really fascinating, especially in a world that is... we depend so much on technology and whatnot these days, so to... and I'm a very old soul that way. I was excited to kind of enter that world, and sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era. I just think kind of studying the Amish way of life is almost like a window into... I also grew up in a really small community in New Finland, and there's not an Amish community there but there's certainly a similar sort of... Just community based... Community is really everything there. They're just similar, sort of, even though it's very different when you look at it from a religion point of view. I just understand that sense of community really well, I think. Yeah.

Suzanne: Sort of small-town feeling.

Sara: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Suzanne: Right. There were quite a few action scenes. Did you do any of the stunts yourself?

Sara: I did a lot of the sort of fight at the end of the film in the barn, and there was a wonderful stunt double as well, but Steve and I, who played my husband, got to do a lot of that ourselves. Yeah.

Suzanne: That's great. One of the reasons I wanted to interview you is because I used to watch Vampire Diaries, and I loved Jenna.

Sara: Oh, great. Thank you.

Suzanne: I was very mad when they killed off Jenna. I'm still mad.

Sara: Yeah, I know. It was a great show to be a part of. It's always nice when people tell me that they were moved by that characters' death or wanted her to come back. I would have loved to explore more storylines with her, but I know that they sort of needed to get rid of the parental figure to let things really go crazy on that show. Elena sort of needed to be out from under the watchful gaze of a parent, I think, for a lot of that story to happen the way it did.

Suzanne: Right, and they kill off so many people on those shows.

Sara: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:06:19].

Suzanne: Some of them they bring back. I just loved her relationship with Ric, so that was great.

Sara: Oh, yes. I know, and he's still [inaudible 00:06:32] on that [crosstalk 00:06:33].

Suzanne: Yeah, I was going to ask if you ever watch Legacies, where he's still playing Alaric.

Sara: I watch so little television. I just have been so busy with... I'm developing some of my own projects, as well, to direct, and I watch so little TV that I... No, I have not seen it. I just binge watched Fleabag, that's the most recent thing I've watched and I was absolutely over the moon for it, but I am behind the times on most TV shows.

Suzanne: I understand. I understand. You're busy and there's a lot of TV shows out there.

Sara: Yeah. Yeah, there really are.

Suzanne: Yeah. It's on the second season, so you can watch it any time on the CW app. It's good, and I like that they give them some of the older people... not that he's old or anything, but the people that are not the teens, they give them some things to do. So that's good.

Sara: Right. Yeah.

Suzanne: I didn't realize until I was looking up your stuff that they had you playing an older person at the time, that you were not that much different in age than the people on vampire diaries who played teens.

Sara: Yeah. Yeah, I was a year... I think a year and a half older than Nina, which is pretty wild, but I think it helped with the dynamic that they wanted between Jenna and her niece and nephew. I tend to play older than I am a lot, and it's actually been great. It's afforded me a lot of really cool opportunities and really great roles, and I guess that's just sort of where my soul lies. It is a little bit of a... I don't even know what you would call that, but it tends to happen. But it's been good, it's served me well, and it was a really fun role to play. Yeah, we joked about it all the time that I was their aunt. There are weirder things. I know of families where there are aunts and uncles who are very close in age to their nieces and nephews.

Suzanne: Yeah, that's true. I actually have a good friend that I've had since junior high school and she had an aunt that wasn't very much older than we were. You have that kind of face. I don't know. I don't want to be... What do you call it? Trying to kiss... I'm sorry, my words are not coming today.

Sara: No, that's okay.

Suzanne: I don't want to be trying to overly compliment you, but I think, when a person has a very beautiful face, that they can play different ages more.

Sara: Oh, thank you. That's very kind of you [inaudible 00:09:17]. I just call it an old-soul face [inaudible 00:09:21]. I once had someone tell me that I had a face for period films and stuff, and I was like, "Okay." I've done a few projects set in the 1880s and a lot of early 1900s stuff, so I'm always kind of like, "Okay, sure."

Suzanne: Whatever works, right?

Sara: Yeah. Yeah, totally.

Suzanne: So, you said you have a short comedy film. Do you have any other projects coming out that we should watch for?

Sara: Yes, there's one that's being released episode by episode right now. It's a web series that I did called Hospital Show that's being released on YouTube, and I highly recommend people watch it for a laugh. It's so fun and crazy. It's about actors on a hospital show. So we, as myself and the other actors, play actors playing doctors. Especially if you love medical shows, it's such a fun take on behind the scenes. I think it's really good. I think it's really funny. There are such great actors in it. Jordan Connor from... I don't know if you watch Riverdale or not, he's in it, and Adrian Holmes, who's wonderful. The creator, Adam Greydon Reid, wrote, directed and edited the whole thing himself, and it's very, very funny.

Suzanne: Okay. I'll have to check that out.

Sara: Yeah. It's so easy to watch, they're six-minute episodes on YouTube. So there's that. I have another film that I worked on with friends last year called An Awkward Balance, which will be getting a release at some point. I'm not sure when. I'm also on Nancy Drew right now, on the CW, which is really wonderful to be a part of. I just shot another film with a friend, actually a Christmas movie, that will also, I think, be premiering on Lifetime soon. It's a very quick turnaround. I don't even know if they're changing the title or not, so I don't want to say the title and get it wrong.

Suzanne: No, I know what you mean because I do that a lot. Yeah.

Sara: Yeah, yeah. I'm developing a screenplay, actually, through the Whistler Film Festival screenwriting program that I will direct. There's a lot of balls juggling around in the air, but it's good. That's when I feel happiest.

Suzanne: Right. Well, you're definitely busy.

Sara: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Suzanne: All right. Well, thanks. I really appreciate you talking to me.

Sara: Yeah, thank you. Thanks for taking the time, and thanks for watching the film.

Suzanne: All right. Talk to you later. Bye.

Sara: Okay. You have a good one.

Suzanne: You too.

Transcripte from

About the movie:

Starring Sara Canning, Steve Byers, Ryan Bruce, Gabrielle Rose
Saturday, November 9 at 8pm ET/PT
Annie (Canning) faces a crisis when her husband, Jacob, (Byers) leaves their Amish world to live among "normal Americans," or the "English" as the Amish dub them. But things turn even more dire when he returns to seek custody of their son and is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants.  Amish Abduction is produced by Reel One Entertainment.
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