Sarah Drew on Finding Love Amid Loss in Hallmark's 'One Summer' (Exclusive)

Watch an exclusive sneak peek from the movie, premiering Sunday on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

Sarah Drew hopes her latest Hallmark film will be an inspiration.

In One Summer, which premieres Sunday on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and is based on a novel by David Baldacci, the story picks when Jack (The Bold Type's Sam Page), after falling ill and coming close to death, unexpectedly loses his wife, Lizzie (Amanda Schull). After a surprising recovery, Jack returns to her beachside hometown with their teenage daughter, Mikki (Madeline Grace Popovich), and 10-year-old son, Tyler (Gavin Borders), to spend the summer in the childhood home Lizzie fondly called "The Palace,” hoping they all can heal. While there, Jack puts his carpentry skills to use to help Jenna (Drew), a recently divorced single mother and local café owner. As Jack turns his attention to the lighthouse, where Lizzie used to play as a child, which has now fallen into a state of disrepair, he begins to see -- and speak -- with his late wife. Through these visions, Lizzie tells Jack she only wants the best for him and their kids and believes they can find it in her hometown. Struggling to rebuild their lives, Jenna may be just what Jack needs to learn to accept the past -- and his place in the world -- for him and his kids to learn to become a family once again.

"I read the script and I thought it was a beautiful story based on a best-selling novel about loss and healing and hope. The thing that I responded to the most is I just felt like there was love on every page of the script, in all of its forms, love of a late spouse, love between a father and a daughter, between a mother and a son, grandparents, friendship. There's so much love bursting off of every page," Drew recently told ET, which exclusively debuts a sneak peek from the movie. "I think we collectively, as a global community, have experienced such incredible devastating loss over the last year and a half. The thought of getting to tell a story that resonated with the reality that we've all been living and an example of having lost someone, but kind of grabbing onto a beacon of hope in the midst of it, I just felt really excited to tell a story like that."

Drew says it was her character's optimism and positivity that radiated off the page and drew her in initially. 

"I love Jenna because she's a bright light. Jack is in a place of darkness. His family has just been shattered by the tragedy of losing his wife and his kids losing their mom, and he's in a very dark and sad place. Jenna comes in with this breath of fresh air and with this cheerful disposition and outlook on life. But what's great about Jenna is that her hope comes from lived suffering. It's not that she's just living in la-la land. She's been through some really hard things herself, and she's just further along in her journey than Jack is," she explained. "She has this wisdom to offer a breath of fresh air to bring to that whole family. I love that she decides to be a friend to the family through this pain."

The 40-year-old actress credited Jenna's "resilience" as being her greatest strength and the trait she'd like to adopt into her own life.

"She's been through some stuff and she's honest about having been through the stuff she's been through. But she's making a choice to persevere. And she has this great line, 'I think if you leave yourself open and open to possibilities, you can get through just about anything,'" Drew recalled. "There's something so delightfully forward-thinking about that, of just like, 'You know what, it's hard right now, but I think if I can look at the world, every moment is a possibility for something better. Then I can get through anything. I'm just moving through this moment to get to the next place.' I love that about her. She has a really positive spirit that feels grounded."

Filming alongside Page, Schull (whom she shares mutual friends with) and the younger cast members for One Summer was a bonding experience for the former Grey's Anatomy star, who reflected on one particularly memorable moment on location that brought the ensemble even closer together than before.

"We all hung out in whatever place they put our chairs and we took a lot of pictures and we did some videos. There's a big scene where we're in a massive rainstorm and we all had to get soaked and it was an all-night shoot. And there's nothing like an all-night shoot, where you're getting hosed down every five minutes in front of groups of people," Drew said. "And actually, at one point, Madeline, who had not been in the first couple shots getting soaked like the three of us -- me, Sam and Bryant [Prince, who plays Jenna's teenage son, Liam] -- she came in and she was like, 'Hey, this is my first time getting soaked.' We all went in and got soaked with her, even though we didn't have to be wet for this. Just in solidarity. We just had a really sweet time. It was a great community."

If there's anything Drew hopes viewers take away when they tune in to One Summer, it's that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"I want people to find their own stories in this story. And if this movie can offer a moment to have a cathartic cry, to feel deep, big wells of emotions in a safe space on your couch snuggling with a blanket, feeling all the things you need to feel. I want them to have a glimmer of hope in the midst of loss," Drew said. "We've all been touched by the loss that COVID has brought upon us over the last year and a half -- everybody, every single person. There's nobody that's escaped the touch of that grief. People are hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel of this madness. If this movie can offer a little bit of hope, even though we have lost and we are grieving, that there is another side to this... I think we will have done our job."

Drew is already hard at work on a secret TV project she's not allowed to talk about -- yet. "I can't say anything, I'll get in trouble!" she exclaimed apologetically, admitting she's "dying" for the world to know. And she hasn't heard if she'll be asked back for season 2 of Freeform's Cruel Summer, in which she played the mother to one of the main girls. "I think they were trying to decide about whether to do an anthology series with a whole new cast or a continuation of the same story," Drew said. "I'm sure they'll be announcing that soon. But yeah, no, I'm totally in the dark."

One Summer premieres Sunday, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. For more on Sarah Drew, watch below.

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