Why Hallmark's Chyler Leigh Feels So Connected To Her Character In The Way Home

Hallmark's "The Way Home" is all about complicated family dynamics playing out in the lives of three generations of women in the Landry family in a small Canadian farm town of Port Haven. Del Landry, played by Andie MacDowell, is the mother of Kat Landry, played by Chyler Leigh, and Kat is the mother of Alice Dhawan, played by Sadie Laflamme-Snow. 

To sum up the basic premise, Kat is coming back to her hometown for the first time in 20 years. She's returning to the life she left behind after a divorce and a job loss and with a daughter who hasn't before met her grandmother, and the women learn to become a family. Oh, and there's time travel that adds to the twists and turns of the family drama.

Leigh drew from real-life experiences for her role in "The Way Home," and that's a big part of why she feels so connected to her character. Leigh told Southern Living: "There are so many things that I could actually relate to Kat personally about. And one of them was, I have two teenage daughters, 16 and 13. [...] And then I actually have a pretty estranged relationship with my mother that spans a couple of decades. So when this came into my lap, I was like, what is happening?"

Chyler Leigh loves the big emotions in The Way Home

Along with the similarities in their family lives, Chyler Leigh shares some other attributes with Kat Landry, and that includes having dealt with anxiety at times in her own life. "One of the aspects that I really loved about Kat and you'll get to see it as the season progresses, is that she has panic attacks," Leigh explained to Southern Living, "and has these moments where she just is so completely overwhelmed."

Showing that those hard feelings are a part of life is something that helps make the character of Kat seem relatable for the viewer, and it's something that Leigh appreciates being able to portray on screen. "To address these super real-life and raw emotions, I think it's just been something that people have been able to find themselves in each one of these characters and each one of these scenarios," Leigh said.

So even if you don't find yourself falling into a pond and traveling back through time in your own life, you may still be able to see yourself in the characters on "The Way Home." It gives viewers a chance to feel like their own emotions and family issues, whatever they may be, are felt and understood by others in the world.

Chyler Leigh wasn't sure at first about being in a Hallmark series

When filming began, Chyler Leigh had some raw emotions of her own, and it involved getting to work with Andie MacDowell, who plays her mother. "I was so nervous about [working with her]" Leigh told Access Hollywood. "My first scene with her, I could not remember my lines. 'Cause I just kept staring at her face." We love that she admitted her own foibles but carried on anyway!

Leigh was admittedly a bit hesitant to join the project when she first heard that it was going to be on Hallmark, per Tell-Tale TV. But once she read the script, she was sold. "The Way Home" is a blend of heartwarming joy and love that you expect from Hallmark, but there's more complexity to the show than you might get from a classic Hallmark movie — after all, there is time travel involved. We're definitely glad she got over her hesitancy as we can't imagine anyone else playing Kat the way she does.

The show first debuted in early 2023, and it proved so popular, it was renewed for a second season. If it follows the trajectory of other Hallmark dramas like "When Calls the Heart," fans of "The Way Home" can expect several more seasons after that one.