Chris McNally knows a thing or two about how to keep life balanced. The Canadian born actor stars as “Lucas Bouchard” on the hit Hallmark series When Calls the Heart, opposite Erin Krakow, in the show’s sixth season. Having debuted its sixth season in February, the series premiere broke rating records as the most watched scripted telecast on cable. Additionally, McNally stars in Hallmark Network’s A Winter Princess opposite Natalie Hall. He will next star in Lifetime’s Heaven which will launch a series of films based on the V.C. Andrew’s book series following the twisted relationships of the Casteel Family.
Jamie Agoglia: Having been a part of some of the most successful television series on cable, what show has been the most career changing to be a part of? I’ve read that you consider your role in Altered Carbon to be an integral turning point in your career?
Chris McNally: Altered Carbon is what switched things around for me, and When Calls the Heart has been the first show I’ve been a series regular in, and I don’t think that would have happened without Altered Carbon.
What was it like to join the cast of one of Hallmark’s most watched telecasts When Calls the Heart?
I was really nervous going in as the cast had been together for five years. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly; you feel at home right away.
With so much talent and passion in your work, what have you learned from both the highs and the tribulations of building a successful career?
I’ve learned to keep my head up when work is down. Trying to keep level. There are so many highs and lows, it’s such a rollercoaster. Not get discouraged, staying evened out. Being prepared, knowing [when going in for an audition] you’ve done all that you can takes the sting out of it, and then try and walk away and it doesn’t hurt as much when you don’t get cast.
What is the most valuable advice you’ve received over the course of your career?
It’s from one of my coaches that said it’s harder to make the olympics than it is to be a professional actor. There’s such a small percentage of people that make it as a professional actor, that made me work so much harder; that encouraged me to put everything I had into it.
What does being an actor and entertainer personally mean for you?
It means that I’ve fulfilled the goal that I’ve always wanted since I was a kid. I wanted to work in the business and I wanted to be an actor. To be immersed in stories and play different characters, and have people enjoy the products that I’m a part of. It feels like a personal victory, and then also I love what I do so I’m very happy in my own life.
If you weren’t acting?
I’d probably be in interior design and decorating. I love it and my parents did it so I grew up around it.
What does a day in the life of Chris McNally look like?
I’m very different if I’m working or not working [laughs]. If I’m on a job or prepping for a job, it consumes me, I disappear into a black hole. It takes over my life. The transformation takes up a lot of time. When I’m not working, I like sleeping in, I love wine and beer, I like going camping, exploring whatever whenever. I do like traveling as well. I just moved to LA last year, so I’ve been trying to explore locally.
Who is someone you have always wanted to work with? Actor or director, etc.
I’ve always gotten a lot of inspiration from Sean Penn, and as incredibly intimidated as I would be, that would be a dream.
What’s on your playlist?
Greta Van Fleet, I’ve been listening to a lot of them lately. They’re really good...Agent Man and Watching Over. When I’m into a band I really don’t listen to anything else for weeks or months and then I’ll shift onto something else.
What’s on your nightstand? Are you currently reading anything?
I don’t have one [laughs]. I’m currently furnishing my apartment. What would be on it is my watch and my phone and a lamp. “Never Cry Wolf” by Farley Mowat is next on my list to read.
What part of LA have you found you enjoy the most since you moved there?
The Arts District is my favorite part of town right now. The breweries, the restaurants, all within walking distance. It’s a very vibrant area. It’s so good. It’s a clean, artsy district; it feels very fresh even though it’s downtown. Beautiful murals and artwork all over.