Life Imitates Art as Josie Bissett Plays Real-Life PAPER ANGEL
Josie Bissett truly brings the Christmas spirit to life – and not just once a year. I spoke with her the day before she was to leave for Sri Lanka with the Starkey Hearing Foundation (www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org). Her work with the Foundation, which helps change lives by providing hearing aids to people around the world, marked Bissett’s first mission trip.
Another way Bissett (Melrose Place) will be changing lives this Christmas season is by reaching people through the UP Network’s Paper Angels. The project is based on a book and song (both called Paper Angels) by singer/songwriter Jimmy Wayne, who got his first guitar through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
When I spoke with Bissett, I wondered how much she was aware of the Angel Tree program before she starred in the Paper Angels project. She said, “I had seen the tree in malls and schools, but I never knew that it was a Salvation Army program. I was so inspired by the movie. I never knew how much it could change a child’s life. Talking to Jimmy Wayne personally, though, made me realize how the Angel Tree program can really change a child’s Christmas and joy, and it’s a growing experience. When you see the tree, you don’t get to see the families opening the presents on Christmas. And it’s hard to manage Christmas these days, especially for single parents.”
The acting experience itself was a personal high for Bissett, who confided to me that she loves Christmas and loves working on Christmas films (Bissett also starred in Christmas with Tucker). She told me, “The Angel Tree is actually a giving experience wherein you’re taking the focus off of yourself and giving to someone else. And that process is actually very healing. You also realize that everyone has a story. And you learn that there’s always someone worse off than you.”
Bissett found it easy to relate to Lynn Brandt, the character she played in Paper Angels. “I understood some of the things she was going through,” she confided. “The message itself was just beautiful. I was sent the script, and I really liked it. I love messages in Christmas movies.”
When I asked what she admired about Lynn, she said, “She made the decision to leave Darryl, so I admired her strength and courage. I admired that she had enough courage to leave him, her marriage, and a situation that was not good for her or her kids, no matter how much she loved him. And she had enough courage and strength within herself to know that she could take care of her kids and herself – by herself – with no help from him. There’s a scene in the movie where he comes back, sobered up, and you can tell they still love each other. You can see how she’d wanna go back but she doesn’t, and I think that’s a pivotal moment that shows how strong she really is.”
Bissett is also an author of children’s books, which is her next project. “Right now I’m gonna sort of shift gears and start working on my next children’s book series.” Bissett’s current children’s books include Boogie Monster and Tickle Monster for toddlers. Her new series of books will be for the 2nd or 3rd grade level, and Bissett revealed, “It’s about the adventures if a young girl venturing out into the world. I sort of want to go to the places in the book first so that I’ll know what I want to write about.” No title has been decided yet nor a release date.
But November 16 is the premiere date for BIssett’s current project, Paper Angels, which airs on the UP Network at 7 P.M. It also stars Matthew Settle.