Everyone’s Christmas spirit is in need of the right music in Netflix’s upcoming Holiday Rush, which releases globally on November 28. In the latest family-oriented romcom from the streaming behemoth, a popular DJ (Romany Malco) loses his job just before his shipping spree should start, so he and his plucky producer (Sonequa Martin-Green) have to band together and figure out what’s really important.
The two leads have a long and steady friendship, and a shared love of Rush’s four spoiled kids, which makes the familial aspect even more important than in The Knight Before Christmas. Malco and Martin-Green sat down with Screen Rant to discuss how they developed that close-knit atmosphere on set, as well as how their own career experiences shaped their approach to the project.
One of the things I loved most about Holiday Rush was that it wasn't just a romance between the two of you – even though I loved said romance. But it's also just the importance of family; biological family and found family. With that in mind, did you guys have any family bonding moments on set with the kids and Aunt Jo?
Romany Malco: It’s impossible, because there was a – listen, I'm going to just jump in here and be like this. I was quite insecure when I first showed up on the set. Because I just didn't know if I was going to be funny without being racy and edgy as I normally am, but also not knowing how to set the right tone for the film and for the environment. And this young lady right here just showed up on some powerhouse, “We gonna do this. This is how it's gonna get done,” and it got done.
But not only that: people could sense my trepidation, and so they were all being so incredibly supportive in helping me. And that just became this reciprocated energy throughout the set, where there was a lot of people borrowing wisdom from one another: younger, older…
You're also kind of out in this bubble, and so the sense of family lend to your sanity, because we ended up befriending the parents of the kids. Before you know it, we were legitimately sitting and eating together. So yeah, it was really nice.
Sonequa Martin-Green: Yeah, that happened organically. It's like everyone made this decision; spoken or unspoken, the decision was made. There was no ego. We came in knowing that we were going to be telling this story as a family, and so we would be a family in real life. Everybody was of the same mind, and so we came together.
It was very seamless and very easy.
Romany Malco: Very easy. It's nice to be in an environment where people are grateful about working.
That explains why your friendship felt so lived in from the start, which was such an important part of the film. Sonequa, you have come from gracing my screen many a time in sci-fi and fantasy worlds. What was it like jumping into the leading lady of a romcom in the real world?
Sonequa Martin-Green: Oh, my God! It was dope. It was so new for me. I really enjoyed it; it was very refreshing. It was like a breath of fresh air – that's not to say that sci-fi isn't a breath of fresh air, because it is in its own way. I really, really have such a passion for sci-fi and the stories that are able to be told and the prevailing themes that come through in the sci-fi genre.
But being able to just be a woman, just this sort of boss woman from the city, was like, “Oh, snap!” I'm not in these sorts of heightened, fantastic circumstances. I really just get to dig down into the real world. And I loved it!
And I also love seeing you in it. Now, Romany, you have a musical background a little bit in real life. Did that help inform the characterization of Rush in any way? Just as someone who loves music so much.
Romany Malco: Without a doubt. I mean, just like we do these interviews when you have a record out; you got a hit record, you have a number one rap record in the country, you kind of have to do a bunch of interviews like this with radio hosts. And you’re sitting in the booth with them, and you develop this rapport with them; you hang out with them, you do club promotions with them, parties with them, and you start learning a little bit about their lifestyle and the way in which they have to navigate through their jobs. Like having the rug pulled out from under them; the constant nomadic life that they live. And so, without a doubt, I was able to tap into that.
Also, just having this appreciation – this universal appreciation for music – which was a career for me, certainly contributed to understanding Rush's role.
And then if we were to go a step further, you know, my dad raised me and my brother. He was a single dad who ended up meeting my stepmother. He met his version of Roxy.
Holiday Rush premieres November 28 on Netflix.