Melissa Joan Hart on directing son Tucker in ‘Santa Bootcamp’

Melissa Joan Hart directs Santa Bootcamp. (Photo: John Russo/Lifetime)

By the time Melissa Joan Hart was 10 years old, she was a veteran actress, having appeared in commercials and on Broadway since she was 4 years old. Now that her son is that age, she is worried if he wants to follow her into the profession.

But he allowed him to be part of his cast Santa Bootcampthe new Lifetime movie she directed.

“He’s really talented in so many different ways. And he’s a little crazy to be an actor, I think,” Hart tells Yahoo Entertainment. “But I wouldn’t encourage it. I mean, I did in this case, because I think he was the best person for the job and I thought he would be a lot of fun to work with. But I knew he could pull off. I would never force the kid me in that position if I didn’t think he had the talent to do it. But he wanted to do it, and he was good at it. And it just seemed natural.”

However, Hart insists she won’t be a mom or whatever you want to call it.

“I’m not going to take this kid to an audition, though, and be like a stage mom, dragging him around and going over lines. You know? Fighting with him to audition and then taking him to the sets,” she says. . “Like, if he wants to do it after college, that’s fine.”

He has mixed feelings about it.

“I will say this: Being a child actor is interesting because what you really get out of it is you learn to take rejection well. Which, I don’t really want for my child, to have to be rejected all the time.” says Hart. “But it teaches you something. It teaches you a work ethic. It teaches you not to take people’s opinions too seriously, because it will hurt your ego. It will hurt your confidence if you let it.”

Hart received confirmation that her son has something special when her co-star in the film, no less than EGOT winner Rita Moreno, told her as much. Tucker was in love with Moreno anyway.

Hart recalled a moment on set when her son was “being a total diva” until he learned he couldn’t have what he wanted because it didn’t fit into “Miss Rita’s” schedule. Then, she was fine with it.

“She was just wonderful with him,” Hart says. “He texts me all the time… And he texts me like, ‘Say hi to my Tucker for me.’

Rita Moreno, right, stars alongside Emily Kinney

Rita Moreno, right, stars alongside Emily Kinney Santa Bootcamp. (Photo: Lifetime)

In addition to working with her son and Moreno, Santa Bootcamp was an opportunity for Hart to work with her friend — and former co-star — Melissa Jarrett Winokur, plus Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead), Justin Gaston and the Backstreet Boys, who provided a song for the soundtrack. The premise is that Kinney’s character, an event planner named Emily, has been hired to throw an elaborate Christmas gala, so she visits a bootcamp for Santas run by Moreno’s larger-than-life Belle. And, if you’re a regular Christmas movie watcher, you already know that she spends the movie getting into the spirit — thanks to Belle — and falling in love with Gaston’s Aiden.

“It just has so much heart in it,” says the actress-turned-director. “But also a nice amount of comedy, which is very important to me. You know, a lot of it is full of heart and full of romance, and that, I love that the main story is really between women, and there’s romance definitely blossoming, and we have a lot of great scenes for it.”

Hart, who has appeared in many Christmas movies over the years, thought that Santa Bootcamp The story was a little different from the others out there. The script had actually been floating around for a few years, he says, intended for a particular deaf actress, so when Hart received it, it included a storyline involving American Sign Language. The “magic element” is a nod to the scene Miracle on 34th Street.

After all, in addition to starring in and directing holiday plays, Hart is a fan of all things Christmas. She started celebrating this year right after Halloween, and some of her cards have already been given out, although she will delay mailing them until December 1st.

“Because I do these Christmas movies, and they tend to be during the summer, I’m always in Christmas mode, like, I’m always ready for it,” Hart says. “The music is always on my mind, the decorations are always nearby. The only thing I can’t find is my Christmas ornaments, but I think it’s because I gave them away in all the movies, they’re in the closet somewhere.”

Santa Bootcamp premieres Saturday, November 19 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.

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