Harmony From The Heart came straight from Jessica Lowndes’ heart. It was the first script she ever wrote, and now it’s premiering on GAC Family on February 12. The film follows musical therapist Violet who crosses paths with a doctor named Blake, played by Jesse Metcalfe. Violet and Blake don’t see eye-to-eye initially about Blake’s grandfather, but they soon form a deep and lasting connection.
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Jessica about this “labor of love” and the inspiration behind it. She also opened up about writing original music for the film that can play all year round. Read our Q&A below:
What inspired you to write Harmony From The Heart?
Jessica Lowndes: I was really inspired a couple years back because I had a weird pilot year with acting where I kept auditioning and auditioning and getting callbacks and getting down to the final two and I wasn’t booking. I didn’t know what was going on. I knew that I’ve always loved to write. I’ve been writing music my whole life. I’ve been writing poetry. I’ve been writing short stories. So I forced myself to go home every night and write for an hour just to remind myself why I got into this business in the first place. I have gone on to sell other scripts and make other movies actually before this one, but this one was the very first script I ever wrote. It was a labor of love. I wrote it four years ago, and it was therapy for me. At the time, I didn’t write it to sell it or make it into a film. I just wrote it to tell myself I could do it and I absolutely fell in love with the entire process. When I was thinking about what I wanted to write, I figured why not write about my two loves to play. I love love, and I love music. I come from a very musical family, so a lot of this movie hits really close to home. So I dedicated this movie to my grandmother. There’s a whole story point throughout the film about my character’s grandmother. That is definitely something that I resonate with, and I actually named my character after my great-grandmother. And then, when I was talking to my mom, who’s a piano teacher, another musical influence in my life, she said if she didn’t teach piano she was really interested in music therapy. I did more research, and I went down the rabbit hole. There’s one website where I just kept reading people’s personal stories, and I was absolutely blown away. I’d never seen a film about it, and I’ve done quite a few in this type of genre. Usually, it’s a girl that’s saving a town or saving a festival, but I wanted to write about saving a human being in a way and give it this depth and this backstory. I think it’s something that people aren’t expecting, but I wanted to still make it light and positive. I wanted it to be a story about hope, so I really hope people can take that away from this.
Is the character of Violet inspired by the women in your life?
Jessica Lowndes: She was inspired by all the strong women in my life. I also think at that time, I knew what it was like to have a dream and did not know if it was actually going to happen. It kind of mirrored what was going on with my acting career at the time. Like, what is happening? I’m not booking these roles, so I think I wanted to write a story about a girl that was pursuing her dreams and there were obstacles in a way but she never gave up. That is the theme of this whole script because even the fact that I wrote it four years ago and it took four years to get made, there were so many moments along this journey when I did decide to pitch it to different networks and studios and everything. There were a lot of people saying no. It could have been so easy for me just to give up and think, okay, this is not what I meant to do, but I really believed in it. I absolutely love to write, and it’s such a huge passion of mine. And then being able to write all the original music was also a dream come true. It was a really cool thing for me to shoot in Vancouver where I’m from. That was awesome and really special. It’s the first time that I’ve been so hands-on and worn so many hats. I was the executive producer. I was obviously in it as well. There were a lot of moving parts and a lot of responsibility and challenges at times, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. I wasn’t even sure watching the final product… I was like, oh my gosh, it’s going to be really hard because I’m wearing so many hats. Am I going to pick it apart? I didn’t know. The first time I saw the first edit, this has never even happened on other movies that I don’t write, but I was able to sit back and enjoy it and watch it like a normal film. I’m really proud of it. I really wanted to create a beautiful film, and I didn’t want it to look cheesy. I wanted every thought to be sexy and beautiful. I couldn’t have asked for a better director. Michael Robison killed it. Randall Platt is the best EP ever that I’ve ever worked with. He makes everything look just so beautiful. I’m really, really proud of this.
Where did writing the music come in during the development process of this?
Jessica Lowndes: When I first wrote this script, I wrote it as a Christmas concept. I thought it would be Christmas carols and an original Christmas song. And then a couple of years into it, I was like I haven’t seen many movies of this type of genre in the Valentine’s Day space. That makes it really fun because you can write original love songs in the movie that can play all year long, so I did a rewrite. When I was brainstorming the main song “11:11” I knew that I had that a story point throughout the film. It was really special. I see 11:11 all the time and I always make a wish. I thought it would be cool to tie that into her relationship with her grandmother as a sign that her grandmother’s with her. I wanted to play into the whole 11:11 make a wish, and that’s why the chorus is all the things you wish you could say to someone, but you’re too scared to say it.
Is this the first time you’ve worked with Jesse?
Jessica Lowndes: This is our first time. I was so excited to have him on board. I’ve been a huge fan of his work, but I’m also a huge fan of his music. He’s such a talented singer and guitar player. I had written Dr. Blake William, a backstory where he used to be in a band, and I liked that arc where he starts out as skeptic and cold. And then as the story develops, and as he opens his heart, you learn more about him and what he’s gone through in his life and the grief that both those characters share and what they’ve been through and what they have in common. I like how at the end he starts singing. It’s such a nice ending to the film. It was so fun to perform “It Had To Be You” with him. We got to go into the studio the first weekend we were shooting in Vancouver and sing that duet. It was a great bonding experience. I loved how much he cared about this character. He wanted this to be a great film, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better as a writer to have someone care as much as he did. He didn’t just come to set and say the lines. He wanted to make everything great, and I am so grateful for his dedication. I’m also grateful for Bill Abbott because for so many years when I was at Hallmark he gave me my first shot as a writer. I sold Over The Moon In Love to him and got to make that movie and write music for that. That was actually really cool because the songs of that movie went number one on iTunes on the singer-songwriter charts. That was a mind-blowing experience. I owe that to Bill for really believing in me, so when he moved over to GAC they brought me on board as a writer, producer, actress, and soon-to-be director. I’m going to be directing for them as well, and that’s another huge dream of mine.
Have you thought about writing a musical romance film?
Jessica Lowndes: Oh, yes. That’s definitely on the bucket list. I have also been working on so many different genres. I’m currently writing a horror movie as well and a pilot. There are a lot of scripts in the works because after writing Harmony I fell in love with the process, so I made it my job. Even before I was getting paid as a writer, I would sit down every day from nine to five, and I would write. I would break for lunch, and I would just think of stories that I was passionate about, roles that I would love to play, so I can’t stop. I’m currently in Costa Rica right now. I did two weeks of vacation after this film because the film was a lot of work. I’m here for another two weeks, and I’m just going to write another film. I’ve been very inspired while being here.