Josh Murray’s new Fox Nation movie “Christmas at the Greenbrier” is about second chances.
The actor stars as retired professional football player Ben, who unexpectedly crossed paths with his former flame Abby, played by Alicia Leigh Willis, at the historic luxury resort, The Greenbrier, during the holidays. After their relationship was derailed by his career years earlier, the two must decide if they are willing to risk their hearts for the second time.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Murray explained that he resonated with the central theme of the holiday romance because of his own love story with his wife Catherine.
“When I first dated my now wife — we just celebrated our first year anniversary a little while ago — I had a short dating period with her when we were going out and things didn’t work out,” Murray said.
“It was a little emotional,” he admitted. “And we stopped talking to each other for over a year, and we didn’t see each other.”
The “General Hospital” alum went on to say that Catherine moved away, and the two lost touch. However, the pair ran into each other again when she was in town during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And I still had that feeling,” he said. “I had this opportunity to engage with her again. But I’ve had past heartbreaks, and it didn’t work out the first time. And I was initially really, really reticent.”
“My first reaction was I’m just going to avoid her,” Murray added. “And I had to do some soul-searching and think about it and my friend called me a coward. And I was like, ‘Ok, well, I’m not a coward, and I’m going to talk to her.’ Eventually we were able to work through things and get on the same page, and we got married that year after that.”
Murray told Fox News Digital that he related to the characters of Ben and Abby after getting another chance at love.
“Ben and Abby had a strong connection in the past that didn’t work out,” the “Killing Lincoln” actor said. “They parted ways, they moved away. And they have this chance.”
He continued, “And, you know, there’s fear. There’s fear that it’s going to fail. That the same thing is going to happen. That they’re going to get hurt again. We want to try to learn our lesson and avoid that pain. But sometimes we have to take the risk of that second chance to have a different outcome.”
Murray said he and Catherine celebrated their first wedding anniversary with a trip to Mammoth Lakes, California, where they went hiking and spent a lot of time in nature. “On the day of, we watched all our wedding videos finally,”he added.
The actor told Fox News Digital that his preparation to play a former NFL quarterback began with throwing around a football. Murray said that he was a soccer player when he was growing up and did not have any previous experience with football.
“I had to start doing some practice things. I was throwing the ball around the lot, I guess, getting comfortable with football,” he said. “I don’t play an actual game in the movie, but there are some scenes where we throw the ball around, so I just had to get comfortable with that.”
Former Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer was among the guests who attended the movie’s premiere on Nov. 3.
Murray told Fox News Digital that he asked Beamer for his opinion on his football skills in the film after the screening.
“I said, ‘How did I do, coach?’ And he was surprised that I hadn’t played football before,” Murray said. “He was like, ‘I didn’t realize that.’ He said, ‘Well, you run like a football player.’ And then his friend that he was with said, ‘But you throw like a soccer player.’”
Murray said that the other large part of his preparation for the role involved focusing on the script.
“It really comes down to the script,” he said. “A lot of times with these projects, especially television, you don’t get a lot of lead time to prepare. But with the weeks that I do have, just really diving into the script and breaking it down and drawing the inferences that I can from it.”
“I got a chance to talk through things with Alicia Willis, who plays my counterpart in the film for a couple of days before we started,” he added. “And just a little bit of backstory, a little bit of a working relationship. That was really great, and she was wonderful to work with.”
Murray told Fox News Digital that while his family did not have many Christmas traditions when he was growing up, he and Catherine have started establishing their own traditions.
“Now that I’m married, it’s a whole new thing, right?” he said. “Now we’re doing stuff with her family. She has her own things. So I’m really in a place of rediscovering our traditions or creating our own traditions that we’re going to establish for our family.”
“But so far, it does include going to Big Bear and going snowboarding,” Murray added. “Last year we did that. We’re doing that again this year. And last year we got snowed in, over a foot of snow on Christmas, and I couldn’t get down the mountain. We had to walk down the mountain, buy chain to put on my car, so I could drive there.”
“That was a little dicey,” he continued. “But having the snow was awesome, especially living in Southern California. We never see snow normally unless we do something like that. And it was so cool. We trudged around in the snow, went sledding, threw some snowballs. It was fun.”
Murray will next be seen in the upcoming thriller “Gym Rat,” which he also produced. The actor told Fox News Digital that the movie is about a “a delusional, slightly psychotic bodybuilder fitness freak.”
“That’s in the can,” he said. “It’s in post-production. I’m planning to have that edited this winter and be looking towards distribution next year.”
The actor told Fox News Digital that he recently wrapped filming on another project that was based on a true story, and penned by “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Shrek” screenwriter Terry Rossio.
“Great, great project and I play a whistle-blower, and it’s a bit of a corporate legal thriller,” he said. “That will probably be coming out next summer. So I’m really looking forward to that coming out.”
“Christmas at the Greenbrier” is streaming now on Fox Nation.