Former When Calls the Heart star Daniel Lissing is living his best life -- without any regrets!
Nearly two years ago, the Australian actor announced his decision to leave the long-running Hallmark drama to pursue other passion projects. Having had time to reflect, Lissing opened up to ET about life after the series and the heartwarming reason he isn’t looking back.
“It's funny the way the world works. If I had stayed on the show, and been there during season 6 and shot and all that kind of stuff, then I wouldn't have met [my fiancee] Nadia, you know? And I wouldn't be getting married and I wouldn't be at this place in my life where I feel really in line with what I'm meant to be doing personally and professionally, so no regrets at all,” Lissing explained. “How can I look at my future wife and say, 'Oh, I should've stayed on this job?' She's my life, you know? That's my personal life and that's exponentially more important to me than a job.”
Still, Lissing admits there are things he certainly misses about being on the series: chief among them, his special bond with the cast and crew.
“Sometimes, I really miss living in Vancouver, getting picked up by my driver, Uncle Gary,” he said, affectionately. “It is a family, and that aspect of things I really miss. I love all the cast and the people at Hallmark. My time with Hallmark was nothing but positive and I’m truly grateful to be a part of it.”
And of course, fans wondering if Lissing is still in touch with his former onscreen wife, Erin Krakow, can rest assured. Lissing told ET they chat regularly -- and he’s even got a project in mind for them to team up once again!
“About two or three years ago, I sent a big proposal to Hallmark pitching a Christmas movie with Erin and I in modern day, and they didn't think it was the right time. Maybe it is now?” Lissing shared. Regardless of how they’d possibly collaborate (music, movies or TV), Lissing made it clear that he’d love to work with Krakow once again. “I’d be totally open to it, hopefully Erin would be too,” he gushed.
With the season 7 premiere of WCTH just days away, Lissing confirmed he will be tuning in and loves the direction the series is going in.
“It's great, they’re keeping it positive. After Jack's death, it was a really dramatic season. It was a lot of drama there which I think made for great television,” he said. “Erin was masterful in those episodes there, really, really, really great. I think they've brought in two love interests for Erin's character and they’re doing great.”
While Lissing can’t help but fondly reflect on his onscreen dynamic opposite Krakow, he’s now encouraging hearties to embrace the new love triangle storyline where viewers see Elizabeth torn between suitors Nathan and Lucas. Even more so, Lissing says his former character, Jack, would wholeheartedly support Elizabeth finding a new romantic companion.
“When [Jack] passed and Elizabeth read his letter, he urged her to find love again. Find love again, because that's all it is. At the end of the day, if he’s not going to be there, there’s no point in her dwelling on that, she needs to move on.” Shortly after, Lissing poignantly added, “You don't need a man to make you happy, let’s just be clear about that. All right? Gotta be happy [in your own heart] first. Elizabeth is [happy], and the man-thing is just a cherry on top.”
And good news, hearties: Lissing told ET that he’d love to make a return to the show for a cameo or flashback appearance, should the opportunity present itself.
“That would be so much fun. Of course. Just to go up there and see everyone again. I could see my old horse, Taylor,” Lissing said, laughing. “Look, if Hallmark called me for anything, I'd be there. They were there for me for five years so of course, I love those guys, so anytime.”
Outside of the Hallmark universe, Lissing is busy working on ABC’s cop drama, The Rookie, where he plays Sterling Freeman: a 20-something actor who portrays a cop on television. “It's so exciting,” Lissing gushed of his latest role. “It’s a very different role from Jack Thornton on When Calls the Heart… it kind of broadens my acting chops, so to speak.”
“[My character is] an actor and, you know, I kind of like teasing actors a little bit,” Lissing playfully dished.
Aside from his work on The Rookie, Lissing is also hard at work on an untitled screenplay he’s developing with his writing and producing partner, Michael Goode. He told ET it’s a political comedy that was partially inspired by his real-life decision to achieve dual citizenship with Australia and America in the coming weeks.
“I love Australia, and I love America. [America] is my home now… I contribute to my community, I'm involved with some charities, I pay my taxes, I also want a voice in the community as an American. It's one thing, especially if we're going to be making a show about politics, because those are things you shouldn't talk about, religion and politics. But I say, ‘Forget that!’ Lissing exclaimed. “Mike and I wanted to say something that, while poking fun at it, that if we could just take a look at the serious issues out there but take a step back and have it as a little creative outlet and laugh at ourselves, let’s laugh at ourselves,” he explained.
But there’s more -- Lissing is also an investor in a fast-food vegan restaurant, Burger Patch, and he’s also knee-deep in planning a wedding with his fiancee, Nadia.
“We're just loving life together. We're wedding planning now, as well, which I thought was gonna be a nightmare by the way, but I love wedding planning!” he exclaimed. Lissing says he’s super involved in planning his nuptials and feels fueled by the “creative process” of it all. But make no mistake, Lissing is leaving all executive decisions to his bride.
“Look, Nadia is the boss. I just present her with the options, or she will present me with the options, and we’ll discuss, but final say is Nadia, it's her special day. She's the princess for her wedding, of course.”