Meet the Thorntons!
After five seasons of romance on When Calls the Heart, Elizabeth Thatcher and Jack Thornton are finally tying the knot in a beautiful (and tear-inducing!) ceremony, surrounded by their closest friends and family in Hope Valley.
To celebrate the momentous occasion, ET had the pleasure of sitting down with the groom himself, actor Daniel Lissing, for an intimate and in-depth conversation about every aspect of his on-screen wedding.
“When you have these big episodes and these climactic scenes, you can feel the energy on set shift a little bit,” Daniel, 36, explained of filming the nuptials. “There's a buzz, there's a bit of electricity in the air.”
That “electricity” permeated the Vancouver set, so much so, Daniel, and his co-star, Erin Krakow (Elizabeth), decided to infuse the script with a personal touch.
As they started preparing and rehearsing their lines, Daniel revealed, “Erin and I had sat down together… and I talked to her about the potential of writing our own vows, as Jack and as Elizabeth. So we took that to the producers and they were like, ‘Well, yeah, you guys know the characters better than anyone else does,’ and so we actually wrote our vows. I wrote Jack's vows and she wrote Elizabeth's, and there's that connection there. You can feel the love between these two characters, and Erin and I, as actors and as friends, have a lot of love for each other, so we really had each other's back through that whole scene.”
Not only did Daniel and Erin pen their character’s beautiful vows, but they also treated the entire wedding as though it was the real deal. Sticking to tradition, the Australian actor told ET they opted to keep Erin’s stunning, lace-embellished bridal gown a total surprise.
“When [Erin] had actually walked down the aisle for the very first time, she was in the full getup, and that reaction, I remember, I was just shaking my head,” Daniel marveled. “I was like, ‘Wow, Erin, you're a beautiful bride.’”
He continued, “As I saw her walking down the aisle, it felt very real.”
After being pronounced husband and wife by Pastor Frank, the on-screen couple shared a swoon-worthy liplock. “We got it the first try,” Daniel revealed of their passionate kiss at the altar. “We've worked together for so long, and when you're in the moment, we all know how to kiss. After five seasons, we've had a few takes of kissing,” he said, laughing.
The breathtakingly romantic affair was undoubtedly the best day in Jack and Elizabeth’s lives, but for Daniel, it was the “most challenging day” he’s ever had as a working actor. He revealed that 10 minutes before they started shooting, he learned some heartbreaking news.
"I got a phone call from my mom from Australia telling me that my grandfather had just passed. It was one of those days on set that I pulled Erin aside and said, ‘I need you to have my back today,’ and when we were going through those vows, it was really hard not to lose it. I've still gotta deliver these lines and be present and she was my rock.”
As for whether the Thorntons have plans to expand their family, Daniel thinks they definitely have the itch!
“I haven't read too far in advance, but I have a feeling. I have a feeling!” he gushed. “You can guarantee there will be a few surprises along the way, but what I would like to see is a happy family. Elizabeth's beaming smile, with a baby, in Hope Valley, with the man she loves.”
It’s clear Jack and Elizabeth’s palpable, magnetic on-screen chemistry is a direct result of Daniel and Erin’s tight bond and close-knit friendship. Despite rumors there’s a bubbling romance between the two off-screen, Daniel clarified, they’re “just friends.”
Regardless, he couldn’t help but rave about his longtime co-star, telling ET, “Like any good friend, she's there for me, and vice versa. I give her a hard time as well, maybe it's the Australian way,” Daniel said, laughing. “We’re just kindred spirits. We both really care about our people, we try and come from a place of kindness, we are very dedicated to our work, and we just have a very honest dynamic with each other... I can imagine there's nothing worse than not liking who you work with and then having to create this intimate relationship [on-screen], so we established very early on that, I’m all about communication, I'm all about openness and so is Erin, and it was easy. Luckily we scored, we totally scored by getting cast with each other.”
Daniel, who coyly admitted he “just met someone” he’s now dating, said this special episode of When Calls the Heart inspired him to think about his own wedding someday.
Before becoming a serious actor in his late 20s, he worked as a musician who often played at weddings. “I had done so many weddings before, and been to so many weddings as a musician that I kind of saw what worked and what didn't in weddings, and it got me thinking, ‘Well, I’m getting to an age now where I'm like, the next woman could be!’”
Daniel’s top three wedding must haves? A destination wedding (likely Hawaii, because it's in between the US and his native Australia), his closest friends and family, and “the right girl, of course. That’s a must have, you don’t want to get that part wrong.”
When Calls the Heart airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel.
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