“I also have a niece and nephew and I consider myself the fun aunt," she said. "The film really emphasizes the love of family. She helps bring the Christmas spirit back for her niece and nephew by doing things that bring a sense of love, holiday and togetherness.”
This year, Lifetime is releasing a record 30 new original holiday movies. What’s incredible is that Hallmark has that beat with 40 new holiday films, split between its main channel and its secondary Hallmark Movie & Mysteries channel.
Knight Pulliam said she is willing to come back each summer and shoot one of these films as long as Lifetime wants her. “These films put me in a good mindset,” she said. “I try to focus on joy and blessings. Your energy goes where your attention flows. You have that choice.
And as a Black actress, she is happy to see Lifetime making greater efforts to cast its films with more diversity, with more non-traditional families and people of color. “These holidays are for everyone,” Knight Pulliam said. “I love Lifetime being progressive that way. There’s something powerful about seeing people who look like you and experiences you can relate to on television.”
Set in Nashville, “The Christmas Aunt” was shot in Vancouver over the summer under pandemic guidelines.
Knight Pulliam, her three-year-old daughter Ella Grace and her mom Denise (who watched her daughter while she worked) had to sequester for 14 days in Vancouver before shooting the film in July. “The industry has definitely done the work to make sure we all feel safe,” she said.
The Spelman College graduate gets to stay closer to home when she shoots BET’s “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne" at Tyler Perry Studios. BET is currently airing the sitcom in revival form after an eight-year break and is airing its 269th episode on Wednesday. She made it big playing Rudy on “The Cosby Show" from 1984 to 1992.
“It’s been amazing working with Tyler,” Knight Pulliam said. “I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work on two long-running hit TV shows when most actors don’t even get to do one.”
And she is fine with Perry’s fast-paced style of shooting. “I’ve been working with him for over a decade. I understand it and get it," she said. “I’m lucky I have a great memory. I’ve been doing this since I was nine months old. It’s second nature!”
So far, she has avoided the siren call of “Real Housewives of Atlanta," which has sought her out in the past, but she has appeared on both “Celebrity Big Brother” and “Celebrity Apprentice" in recent years.
“The Christmas Aunt,” 8 p.m. Sundays, Lifetime and on demand starting Monday for cable subscribers