Although filmed in Nashville, there’s an awful lot of Charlotte in Heather Locklear’s new Lifetime movie, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story. Three of Locklear’s co-stars are from the Queen City. It premieres on Lifetime Saturday, Oct. 16 at 8 a.m. EST.
Avynlee Howley Wood, 6, is among them. The Grace Covenant Academy student plays young Kenna – a daughter of Locklear’s character. You may have seen her in some commercials or local theater, and you can catch her in Beauty and the Beast Junior at Masterworks Theater Company in Mooresville in December.
Don’t Believe Melrose Place
If you recall Locklear from the 1980s and 1990s, you may assume Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is another nighttime soap opera filled with beautiful people chasing and cheating on each other. That’s sort of the fare Locklear was known for. (Remember Dynasty, T.J. Hooker and Melrose Place?)
This is wholesome and heartwarming. “It’s a movie about strength, healing and moving forward,” said Cassandra Howley Wood, Avynlee’s mom.
“It is a true depiction of the power of love and family.” It is also produced by Meghan McCain, so you can bet it’s got “family values” written all over it.
The film tells the inspiring true story of Kristine Carlson, co-author of the best-selling (25 million and counting!) book series Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff with her husband, Dr. Richard Carlson, who finds herself unmoored after Richard’s unexpected death. She’s always been comfortable being his second banana, and now she’s a single mom to two girls and expected to become the new spokesperson for the Don’t Sweat brand.
Charlotte Answered the Call(back)
Ella Dorsch, 14 and a Northwest School of the Arts student, plays the teen version of daughter, Kenna – the same daughter Avynlee Howley Wood plays the younger version of.
Ella, daughter of Charlotte Is Creative’s Melissa Dorsch, has been acting professionally for four years. She’s been in short films and had background roles on some shows and movies but she has a speaking part in the upcoming Halloween Kills, which comes to theaters this Friday, Oct. 15.
If you’re anything like me, you have one burning question related to this movie: What’s Heather Locklear like IRL?
“Oh, my goodness,” said Cassandra Wood. “Heather was beyond wonderful to work with. She was so warm and welcoming to all the cast and crew. Avynlee immediately felt comfortable acting as Heather’s daughter. We were blown away by her kindness and talent.”
Ella agrees. “Working with Heather Locklear was such a joy,” she said. “She had such an infectious laugh and personality on set. She taught me … that laughter [is] the most important sound while shooting a film.”
Anyone hoping for dirt on Locklear will not find it from her Charlotte colleagues. Amelia Rose (a stage name), a 14-year-old Ardrey Kell High School student who plays Akira — the teen Kenna’s soccer teammate, said, “Working with Heather Locklear was so cool! You sometimes think that big stars can be egotistical, but no way! Heather was the most down-to-earth person I’ve ever met – so sweet, and she loved helping everyone.”
Life On Screen … and Off
The set sounds like paradise for an actor. Six-year-old Avynlee had her own trailer. Her mom reports she enjoyed feeling like a “true diva” for her day of filming.
Rose has been acting for four years. “My favorite thing about acting is that I am able to express my feelings in a way most people wouldn’t expect,” she said. “Also, I can embrace a character’s role that would not be the kind of person I am, making it a challenge I like to take on.”
For Ella, it’s “that energy you feel inside yourself. The ability to make people feel something is magical.”
Maybe you’ve felt the magic? Ella has performed in shows at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte including Matilda and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
She’ll next perform in her high school production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at the end of the month at North Carolina Theatre Conference, where they will compete against other regional high schools.
Ella said Don’t Sweat is a “great watch for people of all ages who want a feel-good, comfort movie that shows the importance of family. I can’t wait for you to see the beautiful story of the Carlsons!”
Pretty Big Stuff.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff premieres on Lifetime on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. Watch the trailer.
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Halloween is Already Here.
And, watch a trailer of Halloween Kills with Ella Dorsch.
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