It’s appropriate that Hallmark’s Wedding of Dreams is a sequel, because, in addition to serving as a second movie — following up on 2016’s hugely popular Summer of Dreams — it also offers a second chance for its lead character, Debbie Taylor.
In many ways, and in many other ways not, the character’s life resembles that of the person who portrays her: pop star Debbie Gibson. Taylor sings all of the same songs that made Gibson famous starting in the late-1980s, she is mistaken for fellow singer (and friend) Tiffany, and more. After losing her money, her record label, and boyfriend, things turned around for Debbie — Taylor, not Gibson — when she met Noah, played by Queer as Folk and 13 Reasons Why’s Robert Gant. Now settled into her job as a public school music teacher, she’s engaged and planning her wedding, and, unexpectedly, her music career is getting a second wind, especially after she’s invited to perform on an American Idol-like show.
There were never any original plans for a sequel, but credit Gibson for this latest movie — she’s the one who had another, well, Dream in mind.
“The Hallmark audience is the same audience that grew up with me, and I think they’re enjoying watching me play me, essentially, and I’ve been enjoying it as well and incorporating music,” the 48-year-old tells EW while on tour with Tiffany in Singapore. “I did feel like delving deeper into the relationship and that fear of really planting roots, which, for showbiz women is a reality; we’re very nomadic and free-spirited and it’s like, oh my god, I want this but do I really know how to live a normal life while being my eccentric, creative, road-gypsy self? So I thought that was a really fun thing to explore.”
“She’s a pop star… that’s not a common thing that couples have to deal with,” Gant says of the dynamic this time around. “Things are out of balance … she’s so focused on this life [with Noah] that she’s not honoring another very essential part of her, which is the performer, the artist, and the one who has millions of fans. So we get to watch the journey of how those things can reconcile.”
Which means, while she is away performing, he ends up doing the majority of the wedding planning — not something typically seen in TV and movies. Turns out, it’s another case of art imitating life.
“The thing is, me in real life and me as Debbie Taylor didn’t really have that whole fantasy of doing the cake tasting,” Gibson admits. “Seeing Robert in that situation was really fun. He’s really more of the romantic, which is really sweet and is why my character really falls for him in the first one.… For my character who’s in showbiz, it’s very grounding and romantic to have that because she doesn’t really know how it works and is slightly petrified of it all.”
It’s not lost on Taylor, though, how great of a guy she has in Noah, and she gets her own turn in the romantic spotlight, serenading him at their wedding with a Gibson/Taylor classic, “Lost in Your Eyes,” the first single off her 1989 hit album Electric Youth.
“I think because I read it in the script, I had a certain level of detachment from the actual moment of doing it, but when it was happening — and because it’s television we had to shoot it multiple times, from different angles, and every time she sings it it’s like it’s the first time,” Gant explains, “but I had this idea flash through my mind that, wow, she has performed in Madison Square Garden, in front of huge crowds, and has millions of people around the world, and she’s singing it just to me — intentionally — it’s all directed to me in this moment. It was very surreal and cool… it was pretty amazing to watch how masterful she is at her craft.”
And while the happy newlywed couple is riding off into the sunset, this Dream may not be over just yet. While there, of course, could be a Honeymoon of Dreams (she mentions Paris a few times in the movie), Gibson has a much bigger idea in mind.
“I think it could be a series. With the kids and the music and there not being a Glee on the air anymore, there’s such an opportunity for a downhome, romantic story line with my character jetting off to do showbiz stuff and my kids making music,” she says. “We could be putting out original music every week.”
Case in point, Gibson wrote a song for one of the students to sing, and while we hear just the hook in the movie, two of those young actors — Mamie Laverock and Sean Thomas — recorded “Take the Risk,” which you can see them perform in the exclusive video below.
“I think there’s a big opportunity here. I’ve always wanted to do TV if it was something that I really wanted to get out of bed for every day. I’ve had a very charmed career where I’m able to do things that I love, so that would be a really worthwhile reason to work crazy hours.”
Perhaps, even, there will be a chance for Gant, who studied tap (in fifth grade, he danced with Bob Hope for a USO show!) and sang in several a capella groups and performed in musical theatre, to get in on the action. Sonny and Cher for a new generation, maybe? It doesn’t seem out of the question.
“She’ll start singing something and I am immediately jumping in and harmonizing with her,” Gant says of their time on set, “which I think is sort of indicative of us as friends and the couple we’re playing, looking for that harmony.”
You can watch them create that harmony in Wedding of Dreams, premiering Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark.