“If you’re going to do this crazy adventure that has romance, you want to make sure you’re comfortable with the other person you’re working with… Especially if you’re going to be handcuffed to them for half the movie!” — Corey Sevier, star of LMN’s The Wrong Bed: Naked Pursuit.
Lifetime excels at drama. The network has a way of telling a tale that amps up the tension to incredible heights making for highly addictive, immensely entertaining viewing fare. Spend just a few minutes on LMN and you’re hooked, you need to watch until the conclusion.
Likewise, Harlequin has mastered the romance novel. They deliver hugely satisfying stories driven by love, be it a sweet, innocent relationship or an intensely carnal passion. Harlequin habit-forming reads become an obsession, you can’t put a book down till it’s reached its happily ever after.
On Friday, June 2, these two storytelling giants unite — in a partnership that is better (and more obvious) than mornings and coffee — to bring you two brand new LMN movies based on Harlequin novels: The Wrong Bed: Naked Pursuit (8/7c) followed by Deadly Secrets by the Lake (10/9c).
As you can probably tell by the title, the focus of this article will be on Corey Sevier (Cedar Cove, Mistresses, North Shore, voice of Mega Man Volnutt in Mega Man Legends) who stars as hunky firefighter Owen Michaels in The Wrong Bed: Naked Pursuit, a film based on Jill Monroe’s Naked Pursuit, which is part of The Wrong Bed series. The film was directed by Monika Mitchell and written by Angela Russel and Roma Roth.
Roughly two minutes in, after the pulse-pounding intro that quickly sets the stage for the high stakes adventure, we already find our hero (Owen) and heroine (Stella Williams, who is played by Jewel Staite of Serenity, Stargate: Atlantis, The Killing) handcuffed and naked in bed together.
“Obviously, if it’s a romance, the chemistry is kind of a big thing,” Corey noted. “It turns out that I actually knew Jewel — I’d met her through mutual friends. She is a great actress and I knew her a little bit, but we got to know each other much better over the course of the shoot. She was fantastic to work with.”
Corey and Jewel were both child actors, fortunate enough to have been in the business for a long time. When it came to the more intimate scenes, Corey expressed, “We both knew the drill and we trusted each other — in those kinds of scenes it’s all about trusting each other, being comfortable, understanding how it’s being executed, and then having fun with it.”
“There are high stakes and there’s a whole mystery element to this story, but it’s based on a book in the Harlequin series, so, as a performer, you have to find organic ways to discover these beats of genuine romance. If you’re going to believe that these people are genuinely going to fall in love, you have to find those moments of connection along the way, but you have to do it in a way that doesn’t make the audience roll their eyes and say, ‘Oh come on, would they really stop to do that?!’ We tried to find a balance between the thriller element and the romance. I felt that was our biggest challenge as actors.”
To ensure that there was that intriguing mix of thrills and romance, Corey and Jewel talked with Monika Mitchell about the overall tone of the film and how to best achieve that balance. One of the strategies that she employed involved giving the stars a little leeway.
“We had to get from A to B in every scene, but to her credit, she really let us explore a little in order to find the most natural and entertaining way to get there.”
Jill Monroe’s Naked Pursuit is part of Harlequin Blaze. As you might have deduced from the imprint’s title, it’s all about the heat. Blaze features sizzling stories of love and lust that go a bit beyond PG.
“It’s hot and heavy,” Corey acknowledged. “That’s always kind of a funny conversation to have, ‘How will the romance scenes be executed? What can be seen and what can’t?’ Obviously, there’s only so much you can show on TV, but how do we serve the story in the best possible way.”
Corey pointed out that the flashback element to the story allowed him and Jewel to explore two very different versions of the same romance in one story.
“In their current situation, these two people have no idea who they are. They are shy, they are uncomfortable, and they are learning to trust each other. And then there’s the other one, which is very intense. It’s not just one straightforward line, you have two timelines happening simultaneously and you’re jumping in and out. That element made it very interesting to me.”
As is often the case in filmmaking, the scenes weren’t shot in the order that they appeared in the movie. For instance, the opening that has Owen and Stella handcuffed in bed was actually filmed about halfway through the shoot.
“We started outside and it snowed on our very first day,” Corey recalled. “It was actually a saving grace. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes story… Because we knew what the weather was going to be doing, that affected the story. We knew how much clothing we needed to be wearing when we left the hotel. If we had started filming with the hotel scene, we might have made a decision that made us go, ‘We should have worn a little more clothes when we left the hotel!'”
Later in the film, Owen and Stella arrive at a remote cabin. That scene was also filmed after the weather for the movie had been established. Since it was one of the nicest days of the entire shoot, the Foley included some distant howling winds to keep the weather conditions consistent.
“It was a beautiful location. I thought, ‘Wow, Owen and his family have really done well for themselves,” Corey laughed. “We had this running gag that Stella was actually going to ditch him… until she saw this beautiful home.”
It’s important to point out that Corey is no stranger to playing characters that first appeared in books. As Seth Gunderson from Debbie Macomber’s beloved Cedar Cove, the actor first learned how intensely devoted that particular fan base can be and how important it is to remain true to the character.
“Debbie’s books are so world-renowned. One of the highlights of working on Cedar Cove was getting to meet her and her family. I’m a great admirer of her, her family, and everything she’s done. Getting to know her while working on the series, I felt a real responsibility and an honor to be playing a character that had been in so many books. That experience carried over to this film because it helped me to better understand the fan base and made me that much more enthusiastic about doing the character justice as best as I could.”
One final experience worth mentioning that involves both drama and exotic locations was Corey’s work on the short-lived series North Shore.
“I have so many incredible memories of being a kid from Canada on that show. First of all, being that age and getting to live in Hawaii for that amount of time? That was just incredible! And Brooke Burns? [Brooke played Nicole Booth, Director of Guest Relations at the Grand Waimea Hotel.] She’s one of those personalities… Anyone who meets her, she just makes a really lasting impression on you.”
“Corey and I didn’t have many scenes together, because his character was always surfing and at the beach, and I was the guest relations manager at the hotel,” Brooke told Entertaining Options. “However, anytime the whole gang got together, there was always a consistent kindness that Corey exhibited. Whether it be to cast, crew, or guests on the show. You could always count on his easy smile, and wonderful work ethic. He was never late, always knew his lines, and was drama free. Wait, are we sure he’s an actor???” she joked. “Indeed. He’s talented as well.” [Brooke is currently prepping to shoot another Gourmet Detective movie this July.]
In conclusion, Corey expressed, “I haven’t seen the finished film yet, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all came together on Friday!”
Looking ahead, Corey is moving into directing and producing. He is still continuing his acting, but will be weaving new original projects into his work over the coming months.
LMN world premieres (Friday, June 2): The Wrong Bed: Naked Pursuit (8/7c) followed by Deadly Secrets by the Lake (10/9c).
The Wrong Bed: Naked Pursuit: website • Facebook • Instagram • Twitter
Harlequin: website • Facebook • Instagram • Twitter
Corey Sevier: website • Twitter
Jewel Staite: Twitter
Jill Monroe: Twitter
Monika Mitchell: Twitter
Debbie Macomber: Twitter
Brooke Burns: Twitter