Olympian and national downhill skiing champion pens a holiday romantic comedy
‘Mistletoe Mixup’ to start shooting in April
Olympic alpine skier and U.S. national downhill dhampion Kaylin Richardson is adding a holiday romantic comedy to her resume.
Richardson wrote the script and is one of the producers of “Mistletoe Mixup” that is scheduled to begin shooting in Park City and other parts of the Wasatch Back next month.
The story is about a workaholic woman who makes a Christmas wish that goes awry when she meets two men.
“One of these men may be her person, but there is a twist,” Richardson said. “And while I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, I wanted to do a little Christmas movie here in Utah.”
Christmas is Richardson’s favorite time of year.
“You have all the good feelings of giving, family and togetherness,” she said. “This film is about getting people excited for Christmas, and having an evening or a couple of hours to forget about their lives while enjoying a fun, silly story about love”.
Richardson chose to film in Utah because she lives here, and because it has what she calls a “template” of what she wants a Christmas movie to look like.
“There is a magic here in the winter,” she said. “There are also a lot of unique, real-life characters that offer plenty of inspiration for sure.”
While some fans of Richardson’s skiing may be surprised she wrote a rom-com, writing has always been something she loves to do.
“People who follow me on social media will notice that all my captions are so long-winded,” she said with a laugh.
Richardson also has some TV and film experience. She has appeared in numerous Warren Miller Entertainment ski films, and has done some broadcasting.
“While I’m still definitely a skier, first and foremost, I’ve done different productions in the offseason,” she said. “When I retired from racing, I got involved with film and TV production and spent my time in Los Angeles in the non-winter months.”
It was during her time in L.A. that Richardson met actor Andrew Lawrence, the younger brother of actors Joey and Matthew Lawrence, during an independent film shoot a few years ago.
Lawrence is slated to direct “Mistletoe Mixup,” and he was instrumental in getting Richardson to write the script.
“He’s alway been like a champion for me and encouraged my writing,” she said. “He was the one who told me I should try to put something together, and it all came down to finding the time.”
That time came when the coronavirus pandemic shut many film and TV productions down due to safety concerns.
“I think it was the perfect timing to start this project because people were available,” Richardson said. “There weren’t many productions happening, and people were open to look at projects from people like me.”
Lawrence liked the script, and he recruited his brothers for the project, which is what Richardson wanted.
“I wrote the script with Andy in mind, and I thought maybe he would be able to talk his brothers into being interested in acting in the film,” Richardson said with a laugh. “I know their family and know they all love Christmas, so I was hoping this would happen.”
Lawrence’s positive reaction to the script boosted Richardson’s confidence.
“It’s great to have someone who has been in the film industry since he was a very small child to say I could do this,” she said. “I always wanted Andy to direct, because he has such a good eye. I think being on TV and film shoots from basically the time he was born has given him the understanding of how everything should work and look.”
Having Lawrence handling her first script is also comforting to Richardson.
“I have the utmost trust in Andy, and I will respect his opinion if he finds something that he doesn’t think will work,” she said. “And while I’m not married to anything that is in the script, I know if there was something I didn’t want to change, he would be completely open to discuss it. I have a feeling we’ll be tweaking things through filming.”
The idea to write a romantic holiday comedy came from Richardson’s love for the genre.
“I’m a huge sucker for romance, and I even love the cheesy ones,” she said, laughing. “Even my friends will attest that I’m always trying to play matchmaker. I love that idea of people meeting and clicking right away.”
Richardson also feels that humans for the most part want to see others be happy.
“To watch that journey of a person trying to figure things out and finding who they are as a person is a fun storyline to follow,” she said. “And with all of these streaming services, there are many of these movies coming out during Christmas. So I outlined a couple of things on a whim while my daughter was napping.”
Richardson knows the secret of a good script is structure.
“I wanted a story that was a feel-good story where you could identify with some of the characters,” she said. “Of course, in many rom-coms you will have exaggerations of situations and things, but I didn’t want to have any bad guys. I wanted to write a rom-com where the people are flawed, and everything all comes down to love.”
Richardson has enjoyed the experience to get her script from paper to production.
“I love the collaboration,” she said. “Everything I’ve done in film, including the ski films, has been a collaboration. I love that aspect of the process, and then seeing the finished product up on the screen for people to enjoy.”
Richardson’s goal is to have the film done by the holiday season.
“I want to help bring joy to people’s lives, and use a skillset that I haven’t expressed yet,” she said. “I’m also anticipating people thinking the movie is cheesy, but I think that won’t be a surprise for anyone who knows me.”
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