CBS Releases a New Holiday Rom-com

The Equalizer's Liza Lapira stars in new holiday rom-com Must Love Christmas

Holiday love

Many people know lots of holiday stories, but few feel they’re living inside one. 

Yet that’s the case for the romance novelist at the heart of CBS’s Must Love Christmas. Liza Lapira—usually seen Sundays on the network anyway, playing ex-Air Force sniper Mel on The Equalizer—has the central role of Natalie; she’s a New York-based writer of Christmas-oriented stories who sets out on an upstate trek to Buffalo while experiencing a creative block, but ends up stranded in enchanting Cranberry Falls. There, her childhood acquaintance Caleb (Nathan Witte, Superman & Lois) and ambitious reporter Nick (Neal Bledsoe, The Man in the High Castle) vie for her affections. Must Love ChristmasCBS“It’s really special for me to be the protagonist in this kind of movie,” Lapira says, “because I’ve been a fan [of them] for so long. And on a separate note, it’s special for me to be a protagonist in something. When I was growing up, I didn’t see many protagonists that looked like me, so this has just been a doubly wonderful thing for me to be a part of.” 

Lapira also enjoyed having dual love interests in Must Love Christmas. She reflects: “I always enjoy a ‘meet-cute.’ I got both kinds: I got the meet-cute with the high school crush, the guy in my dreams that I haven’t seen in forever, the unrequited-love re-meeting… and then I got the antagonistic-banter, witty meet-cute, so I’m thoroughly spoiled by this movie.” Must Love ChristmasCBSMust Love Christmas screenwriter Mark Amato is a specialist in such tales, having written CBS’s A Christmas Proposal last year and several other pictures in the genre earlier (A Kiss Before Christmas, Christmas Encore, Looks Like Christmas, etc.). However, he maintains that the main catalyst for Must Love Christmas was another sort of movie. 

“Certainly, the inspiration for me was Romancing the Stone,” Amato explains. “My version was, like, if you had somebody who was so completely introverted, who’s just lived in her novels—and the occupational hazard that that would create. And then essentially put [her] into a world where you’re living out the fantasies that you create; that’s what happens with Liza’s character.” Must Love ChristmasCBSThat character, described by Lapira as “an introvert, and it’s for a reason and it’s crafted in the script,” has the actress “really excited.” She notes that the role is different from how the audience has known her lately, “just 180 in terms of a personality shift. Mel, the character I play on The Equalizer, is much more self-assured—to put it mildly—and much more aggressive than Natalie is in this movie. I get a kick out of that.” 

Must Love Christmas premieres Sunday, December 11 on CBS