Black holiday films are abound this Christmas season, and one of them is A Holiday Chance which has a star-studded cast including Nafessa Williams, Sharon Leal, Richard Lawson, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Amin Joseph and Johnell Young.
As a lover of holiday films, Williams was inspired to make her own. “One of my favorite moments of the holidays is being able to curl up on the couch with good food, good dessert, and watch a good holiday film, so as I was sitting during the [coronavirus] pandemic, I thought I wanted to create a holiday film,” she told Shadow and Act in a recent interview.
She teamed up with a friend to put together a script, came up with her dream cast, and got to work. For Williams, the film encompasses not just her love of holiday movies but also showcases Black success in a way that hasn’t been shown in a Christmas film before.
The film follows Williams as Noelle, a media maven who works closely with her father in his film production business, the biggest Black-owned media company in the industry. Hollywood legend Richard Lawson stars as Williams’ father, and Vanessa Bell Calloway as her mother. When tragedy strikes, Noelle and her sister Naomi, played by Sharon Leal, must work together to save the company. Williams couldn’t have imagined that her dream cast would come to fruition in the way it has.
Lawson was instantly attracted to the project, telling Shadow and Act, “This is my fourth or fifth holiday movie over the years and they always do well. Stories about family, stories about giving, appreciation, gratitude – you can’t miss, especially if the stories are well done. When I read the script, I was really excited because it was a successful family that worked hard to achieve what they wanted.”
Young was equally interested, noting that he met Williams years ago and was immediately drawn to her energy. He says he told her then that they’d one day work together. “I said I have to [work on this film]. Not only is it a great script, she wrote it with Curtis Brian, I was like I have to do this. It’s a manifestation project,” Young, who plays the role of Troy, gushed to S&A.
A Holiday Chance premieres in theaters on Nov. 24. For those who are unable to make it to the theater, the film will be available on several streaming platforms including iTunes and Amazon instant video, as well as On-Demand cable programming.
Watch the full interview where the cast digs deeper into how the storyline imitates what’s taking place in Hollywood, working together, themes of the film and more: