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Viv Leacock, Natasha Burnett’s Banter Sparked Legend of the Lost Locket

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Viv Leacock and Natasha Burnett have always had a “natural” connection, and their chemistry was on display even more with Hallmark’s Legend of the Lost Locket.

“Our real life, kind of, banter and chemistry informed the situation with Amelia and Marcus,” Leacock, 49, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting the pair’s new film. “If we’re laughing, that’s for real. Whatever Natasha and I are doing, that’s for real, we can take it there. It’s so much fun working with her.”

Leacock and Burnett first met on season 8 of When Calls the Heart in 2021, playing husband and wife Joseph and Minnie Canfield. Legend of the Lost Locket, which premieres on Saturday, April 13, marks their first rom-com for the network.

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In the film, Burnett plays a British antique dealer named Amelia, who comes to a small town in Massachusetts searching for a long-lost locket that claims to bring true love to those who wear it. While in the U.S. she meets local sheriff Marcus, played by Leacock, who decides to join her on the treasure hunt.

“We both came up with the idea for these characters and took it to Michelle Ricci, who was the writer, who then took the idea to Howard Braunstein, our producer, who then took it to our executive at Hallmark,” Leacock recalled to Us. “We all came together and over a year and a half developed the idea and the characters and the circumstance, and that’s what you saw on screen.”

Burnett exclusively told Us earlier this month that her desire to “play British” was a “big one” of the reasons she and Leacock started to collaborate on the concept.

She noted that Leacock’s past work as a detective on Hallmark Mystery’s Hailey Dean Mysteries franchise was another source of inspiration. “We were trying to find a concept that would bring the two together,” Burnett said. “We always knew that as friends between us, we often have the British English and American English differences. So we knew it could bring a little bit of humor to the movie if that could be put in there as well.”

Leacock revealed that Marcus and Amelia’s need to correct each other “all the time” in the film was partially because he and Burnett often battle over what different items are called in the U.S. versus the U.K.

“That is based on the Tasha in real life, how she’s got different words for different things, and I am forever trying to copy her accent and it drives her crazy,” Leacock confessed. “I just can’t help it. [When] I’m around it, I start speaking like I’m from the U.K. and she’s like, ‘Stop doing that!’”

Some of those moments include Amelia accidentally ordering potato chips instead of French fries at the local diner. In England, “chips” mean fries and “crisps” are U.S. chips.

“That’s one of my favorite scenes, just that banter between us while we’re doing that [chip bit], it’s fun,” Leacock told Us.

Burnett also identified “chipgate” as one of the top moments to shoot, adding that her line about a “loft” and not an “attic” was also inspired by her real lingo.

“I said, ‘Oh, I know the loft, and he’s like, ‘the attic.’ And that actually wasn’t in the script, but I thought I would say Loft. I wouldn’t say attic,” she remembered. “It was interesting where I didn’t even notice in certain cases where the American English and the richest English actually switched.”

Ahead of production, Leacock realized the duo “just have this really cool chemistry and cool banter in real life, and I was like, ‘We got to put that on film in one of these rom-coms.’”

Burnett was in total agreement, saying that the costars have connected on “so many things” over the years that it was a no-brainer to bring that to the movie.

“We seem to just get along for so many different reasons. So, it was easy to play modern day characters where we could infuse banter that would probably happen between us,” she shared with Us. “Some of the looks that we had between us were exactly things we would do with each other. So it felt natural.”

Legend of the Lost Locket premieres on Hallmark Channel Saturday, April 13, at 8 p.m. ET. Fans can also stream it on Hallmark Movies Now.

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