Lifetime has added two movies to its upcoming “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” holiday slate, including the Rita Moreno-starring “Santa Bootcamp,” directed by Melissa Joan Hart, and Sarah Drew’s “Reindeer Games Homecoming,” which she will write, star in and executive produces.
Moreno will be joined by Tony Award winner Marissa Jaret Winokur (“Hairspray”), Emily Kinney (“The Walking Dead”) and Justin Gaston in the holiday tentpole movie. Rounding out the cast are deaf actors Deanne Bray and Zyra Singleton. The film will mark a holiday reunion for Hart and Winokur, who previously starred in the network’s 2018 film “A Very Nutty Christmas.” “Santa Bootcamp” will be Hart’s fourth directorial feature for the network, alongside “The Santa Con,” “Feliz NaviDAD” and “The Watcher in the Woods.”
“Santa Bootcamp” follows event planner Emily Strauss’ (Kinney) journey to finding the perfect Santa and inspiration to stage an impressive Christmas Gala for a mall magnate’s (Patrick Cassidy) most important investors. While at Santa Bootcamp, she meets Belle (Moreno), a drill sergeant with a heart of gold, who helps Emily rediscover the magic of Christmas and find romance along the way.
“I have always been a holiday person… particularly Christmas,” Moreno said in a statement. “The idea that I’m actually going to participate in this wonderful Lifetime Christmas movie, ‘Santa Bootcamp,’ just tickles me to no end. I have been known, at Christmas time, to decorate anyone in my house who happens to stand still for more than a minute. I will decorate anyone and anything because I turn into a child. Therefore, what a treat for me! Thank you Lifetime. My grandchildren are already celebrating!”
Meanwhile, Drew will reunite with fellow “Grey’s Anatomy” star Justin Bruening in “Reindeer Games Homecoming.” The actress previously starred in “Twinkle All the Way” and “Christmas Pen Pals.”
The film follows MacKenzie Graves (Drew), a brilliant, competitive Biology teacher in Vermont who recently lost her father, the town’s beloved fire chief who was behind the holiday fundraising tradition “The Reindeer Games.” This holiday season, her world of her is rocked when fading Hollywood star, and Mac’s high school crush, Chase Weston (Bruening), comes home for Christmas and is unwittingly roped into the Games. Determined to win the competition, unexpected sparks fly between the two.
Lifetime’s current nice list of announced 2022 holiday talent also includes Mario Lopez, Jana Kramer, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Patti LaBelle, Brooke Elliott, Brandon Quinn and Danny Pintauro.
Lifetime’s full holiday slate, complete with airdates, will be announced in the fall.