Kristin Davis’s new Netflix movie, Holiday in the Wild, premiered over the weekend, and I’m happy to report it’s completely delightful. It centers on a woman, Kate, whose husband leaves her right before their second honeymoon to Zambia, Africa. So she goes on the trip alone, meets a sexy pilot named Derek (Rob Lowe), and the two spend the next 90 minutes saving elephants and flirting. Spoiler warning: They don’t kiss or get together until the very end of the movie, though. In fact, you spend most of Holiday in the Wild marveling at the scenic locations and swooning over baby elephants. And it doesn’t even really become a holiday movie until the second half, when Kate’s son surprise visits her in Zambia for Christmas, and a chain of romantic drama with Derek follows.
I don’t want to give too much away, of course. You’ll have to watch Holiday in the Wild yourself to find out what exactly goes down. But just know this: It’s a fun, breezy good time, and the central cause, elephant conservation, is near and dear to Davis’s heart. (The actor has done her fair share of philanthropic work for elephants over the years). Below, we chatted with Davis about conservation and what she hopes viewers take away from Holiday in the Wild.
Glamour: How did this movie come to you?
Kristin Davis: The producers and the writers came to me and said they wanted to do something different than the regular Christmas movie. They’d been following my social media and seen all my postings about my elephant work, and they started asking questions. One thing led to another, and four years later here we are with this movie.
So this has been in the works for a while, then?
Kristin: It has, because this film was very hard to produce in the most proper, ethical way. It was really important to me, since we were making a movie about conservation, that we pay homage to the people who are doing this every day and putting their lives on the line to protect elephants and rhinos and all the other animals that are risk, and also that we not just use traditionally-trained elephants in the way the entertainment industry does. So we had to find places that were actually rescuing elephants and that would allow us to film there.
What do you think makes Holiday in the Wild stand out from all the other holiday movies coming out this year?
Kristin: The fact that it’s shot in Africa, number one. Even if we leave out the animal part, it’s just in a different setting. It’s more of a travel-adventure movie, in a way; it just happens to be a Christmas movie, but we’re having Christmas in a different place—which is nice. It makes you think about your own Christmas traditions, and then you look at other people’s Christmas traditions and think about them in a new way. Rob [Lowe] brings so much wry humor, which I don’t think you always get in a Christmas movie.
It does feel like the holiday movie genre is having a bit of a renaissance. Why do you think it’s so popular?
Kristin: I think people are very stressed. The world is a stressful place, and the holidays are a time when hopefully we get a little break from that stress. People want entertainment that gives them a good feeling. It’s a nice break. People want to be together; they want to watch things they can watch with the whole family. It’s a time that’s become more important because of the continual 24-hour news cycle and all the things going on in the world. All the difficulties.
Would you be open to doing another holiday movie?
Kristin: Of course! Holiday in the Wild sets the bar pretty high. I think now I’m just going to have to only do holiday movies with animals!
Like a sequel?
Kristin: A sequel would be amazing. I don’t know exactly what we would do or what would happen. For me, shooting in South Africa and Zambia and being able to be around elephants, which is one of my big loves of my life, and getting to write a love letter in the script to the people who take care of them, it really is a dream come true. I never really actually thought the film would get made, so it would be hard to live up to this one.
What did you most relate to with your character, Kate? She sends her son off to college and within seconds her husband leaves her. She goes through a lot just in the first 10 minutes of this movie.
Kristin: I responded to her having her eyes open on this trip she ends up taking by herself to a whole other world and a whole other way people are living and to this crisis of elephant poaching that she had no idea about. I responded to that because that’s very much like my own life.
When it comes to your own holiday pop-culture consumption, what are you looking for?
Kristin: I’m looking for something that I can watch with my daughter [Gemma Rose]. She loves Christmas, and when you have kids it’s all about their enjoyment.
How do you think Charlotte York from Sex and the City would take to Kate’s situation in Holiday in the Wild?
Kristin: I think she would be exactly like me! If for some horrible reason Harry left her—which I don’t think he would—and she was going on a single trip to Zambia and found an orphan elephant, I think she’d respond exactly the way that Kate does or that I did.
Christopher Rosa is the staff entertainment writer at Glamour. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrosa92.
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