Many know Cameron Mathison from the soaper All My Children and from Dancing with the Stars back in 2007. We got to know him a bit better due to his upcoming ABC Family holiday movie, Holidaze. Cameron stars opposite Jennie Garth, whom he has worked with in the past and enjoys a casual friendship. The movie is a fun Thanksgiving-themed story about second chances and do-overs. Cameron plays Carter McClure, once engaged to Jennie’s character, Melody. When Melody breaks off the engagement for a high profile job offer in Chicago, Carter stays behind in the sleepy little town of Streetsville, Illinois, and renovates an old house into an inn which he plan to open over the holidays.
Holidaze airs December 8th at 8/7c on ABC Family.
Moderator: Was it challenging to have your on-screen feelings with Jennie Garth go back and forth so much?
Cameron: You know, it was in a sense. We had to keep on remembering “Alright, so wait a minute, what’s happened? Where are we now? So we’re in love with each other now, this is good”. We always had to go back.
It was almost like two different characters, and the director was very, very helpful with me, especially, because Jennie more or less made a natural progression in her change. Whereas, mine was a black and white change as soon as she went into her dream state/alternate reality state. I was a totally different guy and that was fun. It was a good challenge and, again, like I said, our director was great with making sure that I stayed on top of that.
Moderator: What kind of process did you have to go through to get this role?
Cameron: I’ve got a great relationship with ABC, ABC Family, Disney and it was kind of that once they got their female lead locked in with Jennie Garth, they extended an offer to me because they felt I was a good fit. Jennie and I know each other a little bit and the way we act together. It was just sort of like “Get your lead female in place and then let’s go looking for the guy that would work.” It was a nice phone call. It was a nice offer to get.
Moderator: What was your reaction when you found out that you had the role?
Cameron: You know I was thrilled on a few different levels. I was thrilled because I really like the script. I thought the script was very sweet and I enjoyed the different elements. I loved my character Carter McClure.
I really appreciated the decisions that this guy made in his life to stay in a small town. He’s very grounded with good values — he didn’t want to follow the big city and the corporate world. He wanted to live a nice, simple grounded life in a small town and stick to those roots, and I really appreciate that in him because I didn’t do that.
I went to New York and L.A. chasing the dream, which I’m very grateful that I did. But at the same time, I’m at a phase in my life where I’m probably headed more in that direction. I’m always trying to simplify and find more balance in my life. I loved the script. I loved the character.
I’m a big Jennie Garth fan. I think she’s very funny, very good, so sweet, and it was nice to get to know her while working together on this movie. I was thrilled on several levels.
Moderator: How was filming on location for Holidaze?
Cameron: We filmed in Toronto! I spent half of my young life in and around Toronto, so it was nice and chilly – but beautiful – in January. I love Toronto. I organized my high school basketball alumni game while I was there so I got to see all my buddies. My brother and his family live in Toronto, so I stayed with them for part of it and it was a great time.
Moderator: Are there any correlations between your character in All My Children (Ryan) and your character in Holidaze (Carter)? How much of your own personality is in this particular character?
Cameron: First, the Ryan Lavery/Carter McClure connection, I would say that my character Ryan on All My Children had a more troubling background. He wasn’t grounded and genuine in that small-town-way in the early stages, but he kind of grew to that. I believe he grew up to be more like Carter McClure in Holidaze, so in that sense, they’re sort of connected. I think Carter is just a solid good guy and has stuck by his values his whole life. He really knew what he wanted in life, and I think Ryan was far, far more troubled and made many mistakes in his life.
Second, my connection to Carter, I would say I always bring part of myself into the characters. I really admire Carter. It’s the aspect of me that is trying to have more of a balance in a small town feel of a life – but also be able to continue in the entertainment world, which is typically a big city experience. I crave a simple, content, peaceful life. I really, really enjoy that and that to me is the real solution. That aspect in me is probably where I bring in Carter’s perspective.
I’m able to find a little bit of balance. For example, I live in L.A., but I don’t live right in L.A. I live in the mountains in Altadena so I feel like I’m in this little mountain town and it’s a small community, which I love. I’m trying to say no to more jobs so I can be around and coach basketball. There are definitely things about me that are like Carter, but I certainly didn’t make that decision my whole life, that’s for sure.
Moderator: Were you able to show any of your co-stars your dance experience after being on Dancing with the Stars?
Cameron: Jennie and I were on Dancing with the Stars in the same season! And she did better than me by one place — she used to bring it up in a quite sweet and funny way. She came fourth. I came fifth. She beat me by one spot, so if anybody’s showing anybody moves, I don’t have the unwritten authority to do that. She would lay into me.
Moderatora: Would the two of you ever put your dancing shoes together in film or on the road?
Cameron: That would be fun! Anything that I can do with Jennie Garth, I would love to do it. I really like her. I got along with her really well and I enjoyed her perspective on life. I think she’s really talented and very, very funny.
We did a little skating scene in the movie, and there ended up being a little bit of a dance there, but that’s as close as we got to dancing in the movie.
NiceGirlsTV: Since Holidaze is all about going back and reliving a moment in your own history, if you could revisit any time in your life, what would you go back and do differently?
Cameron: That’s a good one! I would definitely go back and work on what I’m doing now, in terms of acting. I would make different little decisions – like choosing not to play my first year at college in McGill basketball. I ended up playing from my second year on, you know I really regretted that. I would go back and in any way possible minimize causing any problems with people.
NGTV: What was it like working on set during Holidaze? Are there a particular funny stories from behind the scenes?
Cameron: There’s one scene in the movie where I have to stand there without clothes on – but obviously I wasn’t standing there naked. It was on the third day of filming together with Jennie. So I’m standing there in my underwear for a long time which was awkward! There was another scene when my character and Jennie Garth’s character are being romantic and kissing – in between takes Jennie would check her emails on her phone and it all just looked so funny. So I came to the conclusion that I must not be that mesmerizing!
NGTV: If Jennie [Garth] is the better dancer, who is the better skater?
Cameron: Probably Jennie! I mean I’m Canadian, so it’s really embarrassing for me to say this, but I think I may have passed her. I’ve had to do some skating in other roles and I took some lessons and I got much better. I took lessons during Holidaze and I was very grateful for that, but it was very humbling as a Canadian to have to take skating lessons. Whereas Jennie just kind of threw on the skates and got out there and did her thing. She was pretty good!
Moderator: Was it difficult to get into the holiday spirit when you were shooting the movie in a non-holiday season?
Cameron: It’s only difficult when you’re just sitting there reading and working on your scenes at home. But then you show up on set – you’re in the costume and the set decorators are always fantastic. So you’ve got all the Christmas decorations, you’ve got the Christmas lights, the Christmas tree, you’ve got the smell of the turkey – that all really helps. Then you just try and believe it! You just make the decision and you get lost in that character and that situation.
It can be difficult, but if the conditions are right around you it makes it much easier. There were a lot of really talented people working on this film, so they made it very, very easy.