Hallmark Channel’s newest movie, Moriah’s Lighthouse, premieres Saturday, June 18 at 8pm eastern/7pm downtown. The film stars Rachelle Lefevre and Luke Macfarlane. Here are all the details you need to know about the film’s location, the cast involved, and the behind-the-scenes stories.
Here’s one of Hallmark’s synopses for the film: “Moriah is a carpenter living in a French seaside town with dreams of restoring a local lighthouse. But Ben, an American architect coming to town, might ruin his plans.”
The film was filmed on location in France, although the original story takes place in Canada.
Moriah’s Lighthouse writer Serena B. Miller said on her blog: “Although my story takes place on an island in Canada, I believe the producers have good reason to move the film to France. I ask if I can be on set to watch the movie being made so I can blog about it. Hallmark agrees and dates are set.”
She also mentioned that COVID had an impact on when the movie started. On her blog, she wrote about the long journey of making a movie from book to screen and how exciting and terrifying it can be at the same time. She illustrated everything from packing to staying at an Airbnb with no knowledge of French and a hostess who doesn’t speak English. The story she tells is really a lot of fun!
The film was shot in the Castel Beau region of Ploumanac’h, France. The lighthouse is a short drive away and, according to Miller’s blog, was originally built in 1860. But during WWII it was destroyed by the Germans. In 1946 this more modern lighthouse was rebuilt and this is the one shown in the movie!
Although the film was set in a beautiful location, the film’s cast and crew faced some tough weather conditions, especially while filming outdoors.
Miller wrote: “The wind is whipping her hair like crazy, it’s freezing and cloudy and I’m miserable even though I’m wearing layers and a coat. Between takes, the crew dressed the three actors in heavy coats, trying to keep them as warm as possible. When the cameras and cast are back in place, their coats and dresses for a warm spring day, everyone is back in acting mode.”
In a video by Miller and actor Serge Dupire, the writer and character share that Dupire was exactly what Miller had hoped for.
“I’m very happy to meet my creator,” joked Dupire.
There are a variety of behind-the-scenes photos and videos on the author’s blog. It’s well worth reading if you want a complete retelling of what happened by the author herself.
In 2015, Ploumanac’h (which means ‘pool of the monks’ in Breton) was voted ‘the most favored village by the French’. It is a village port in a natural harbor, so it makes sense to have chosen this location.
The lighthouse itself is called The Ploumanac’h Lighthouse and offers direct views of Château de Costaérès, l’île Renote and Jentilez.
Miller participated in a live Q&A on a Hallmark Facebook group, where he answered many additional questions about filming the film.
She wrote about the lighthouse: “Executive producer Leif Bristow and his wife Agnes drove over 3,200 miles along the coast of France, checking out every lighthouse. This is what they chose. I found it absolutely perfect. I can’t wait for viewers to see the growing drone footage. Incredibly cute.”
She also wrote that her favorite part of the movie is a moment where Moriah is desperately trying to light the lighthouse. That scene “got me the creeps,” she shared.
When asked if there were any changes made to the script for her book, she wrote: “Yes, mainly because of the decision to film in France and because so much of my book just didn’t fit into the allotted time slot. However, I managed to read the script before they started shooting and I agreed. I thought it was well written.”
Crown Media’s synopsis for the film states: “Moriah (Lefevre) is a talented cabinetmaker who meticulously creates beautiful creations for her clients in the beautiful, beautiful French island town where her family has lived for generations. She dreams of one day buying the lighthouse keeper’s house that was her home for years before it was decommissioned and plans to use her skills to lovingly restore it to all its beauty. Ben (Macfarlane), an American architect staying at his aunt’s hotel for the summer, might be the fly in the ointment – Moriah is shocked and saddened to learn that Ben has been hired to design a new home for the new owner. But the buyer has an unexpected connection to the island and to Moriah’s aunt, which could lead to more surprises for Moria over the course of the summer.”
Rachelle Lefevre (the “Twilight” saga) plays Moriah. Although her character in the film is French, she is actually from Montreal, Quebec, Canada and speaks Canadian French. In an Instagram post, she opened up about just how real jet lag is when you’ve traveled this far for a movie.
In the next Instagram post, she once again laughed at her for only wearing black and looking like she was in uniform the entire time. She managed to keep her luggage so small for her big trip to France:
During a live Q&A, Miller shared that it was a pleasure to work with Lefevre.
She wrote: “I had seen Rachelle in the original Twilight when she played Victoria, a particularly scary vampire. It was fascinating to watch her transform into a healthy French artisan. My favorite moment with her was when, after replaying a scene over and over in absolutely cold and windy weather, she threw both her hands in the air and yelled, “I LOVE MY JOB!” We were all wearing coats and gloves and stomping our feet, and she was wearing spring clothes. The crew donned her coat between takes. I asked her about it later and she said, ‘What do you love about it!’ She said, ‘Because I’m grateful to be able to work on something I love when so many others aren’t.’
Luke Macfarlane (“Killjoys,” “Brothers & Sisters”) plays Ben. Born in Canada, naturalized as a US citizen on June 12, 2018.
He shared a photo on Instagram showing how cloudy the weather was during filming.
Miller said of working with Macfarlane in a live Q&A session: “Luke is just a love to work with. So cool. He seemed happy to be there, to work, and he made everyone around him feel comfortable – including me. He plays the role of an (at first) rather clueless American architect and he nailed it. I had to fight not to laugh out loud at some of his great lines during filming.”
Macfarlane is a cabinetmaker in real life. Miller shared that there were times when, based on personal knowledge, he shared some lines at will.