Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Little did Imani (Krystal Joy Brown) know how much her life was going to change just by being stranded in the diner in which she works due to a snowstorm in Heaven Down Here. With her were her boss Dan (Richard Harmon), local pastor Felix (Juan Riedinger), and, most importantly, hospice nurse Clara (Tina Lifford), who went on to introduce her to someone who would change her and her children’s lives.

Imani noticed that Clara had a photo of her as a baby (and the birthmark to prove it’s her), and the other woman asked what she knew about her adoption. “My parents never gave me much information. When I got older, I pushed, but they weren’t forthcoming. I figured it was something ugly like I was abandoned, so I didn’t press.” Clara revealed that she knew who her grandmother is: her employer Nancy (Phylicia Rashad), whose daughter — Imani’s mother, Noelle — died. Noelle had a baby girl named Denise Imani. “Your mother put a Star of Bethlehem on all of her artwork just like the one underneath your collarbone,” Clara told her.

Imani struggled to believe it, but “you weren’t unwanted, and you certainly weren’t abandoned,” the hospice nurse told her. “You were given to a loving family, and your birth family has never stopped thinking of you. You’re loved.” She then took Imani and her kids to meet Nancy, who, at first glance, thought she was looking at her daughter.

“It’s so crazy because I always feel like life is stranger than fiction. So the twist that happens is not something I don’t believe that could really happen, when she finds out that Tina’s character has been working with her biological grandmother,” Brown told TV Insider. “It is such a revelation because I believe that Imani has felt kind of the outsider for a long time. She was adopted by parents who were Scandinavian, so there was a lot of cultural and societal differences that she couldn’t really express and feel, but she knows she was very loved and given many opportunities by being adopted.”

She continued, “but having lost so many people in her life and then knowing that there’s someone there that she can connect with and that her kids can have a connection with is absolutely major. And it couldn’t happen at a better time. It’s never too late to repair something that may seem broken. And so the fact that she finds this out and that that connection is made and a new family comes from that is, to me, just heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, and beautiful. And of course, beautifully masterfully executed by Phylicia Rashad. She is just so magnetic and so easy to, I mean, love, obviously, but so easy to connect with in life and on camera that it was the gift of gifts.”

Kailey Schwerman/Hallmark Media

And so while the twist might be a surprising one, “that’s what faith brings. That’s what holding on can bring,” Brown pointed out. “I’ve had crazier things happen to me, so it was really beautiful, and it seems maybe even farfetched, but stranger things have happened.”

Nancy also gave Imani a letter her mother left for her: “Dearest baby girl, it has been the privilege of my life bringing you into this world. I write this letter to let you know a few things I wish for your future. First, I wish that you grow up in a family full of love. I hope you embrace everything this world has to offer and that you get to experience the miracle of motherhood. Even for this brief moment of time, it has transformed my life in ways I never expected. I love you, my sweet.” Nancy explained that the private investigator she hired kept running into dead ends, but now that they found each other, she wanted to make up for lost time by having Imani and her kids move in with her.

“I think this movie has a big theme of loneliness, and there is just so much of these people dealing with their loneliness or feeling stuck or feeling misunderstood or feeling frustrated, and to be able to break down those walls and just open up and still find connection, I think is really, really powerful and really something that is needed, especially in times this,” Brown shared. “People get really sad during the holidays a lot of times, which is why I think Hallmark always has these hits because people want that goodness and to remember that there is joy and lightness and romance that surrounds their lives, and that is possible for them.”

Hallmark brought some hope into Brown’s life in 2020 when she filmed One Royal Holiday, one of the first productions up and running after the pandemic shutdown. (She’d been doing Hamilton on Broadway when everything stopped.) Not only was she thankful to be working but the movie also gave her a community amidst the isolation, testing, and quarantining (all of which she had to do to shoot the film).

“To be able to jump in and start working on something that feels like a salve and a balm to the spirit, just talking about the holidays and romance and love and connection, it was very surreal in a way because we were living in such a devastation and a tough time, then to be able to go and be like, ‘Oh, I’m in this kind of wonderland bubble,’” she recalled. “But then the outcome is being able to share that with other people during the holidays and having them hopefully feel a little bit of joy and relief from some of the isolation and chaos that was the pandemic.”

As for what Brown would like to do next if she does another Hallmark movie, “I want there to be magic,” she said. “We go from very gritty and real to, I don’t know, she finds out that she has magical powers on Christmas Eve, the ability to grant wishes or something. I’ve always wanted to do something a little bit magical in that way. So that would be a fun hybrid.”

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The post Krystal Joy Brown on ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Shocking’ Twist of ‘Heaven Down Here’ appeared first on WorldNewsEra.


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