Canton native Amanda Kloots creates, stars in holiday film 'Fit for Christmas' – Akron Beacon Journal

Canton native Amanda Kloots has always loved the Christmas holiday. Now, she’s co-written, produced and starred in her first holiday film, “Fit for Christmas,” which will air at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
Those are all firsts for Kloots, 40, who’s gotten to combine her love of performing with her love of fitness and the Christmas holiday for this project. The actress, who’s a co-host of CBS’ “The Talk,” is a former Broadway dancer and Radio City Rockette who continues to run her own fitness company, Amanda Kloots Fitness.
In this story, which Kloots co-wrote with holiday flick writer Anna White, Kloots’ Audrey is a Christmas-obsessed fitness instructor who teaches at a financially struggling community center in quaint Mistletoe, Montana. She starts a holiday romance with charming businessman Griffin, which complicates his plans to turn the center into a profitable ski lodge.
It’s a feel-good Christmas movie, which is the point of holiday movies, Kloots said.
“They’re positive. They’re joyful. They make you smile. Everyone can sit down on the couch and watch it together as a family,” she said.
Kloots, based in Los Angeles, gained an international social media following when she shared the 95-day struggle she went through in 2020 with her husband, Nick Cordero, a Broadway actor who lost his life to COVID-19. He died when their son, Elvis, was 1.
She and her co-writer sister, Anna Kloots, released Amanda’s New York Times bestselling memoir about her struggle and love story with Cordero, “Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero,” in 2021.
The inspiration for Kloots’ new film came more than two years ago, a couple weeks after Cordero died.
“It came to me in the middle of the night in July of 2020. I was not able to sleep and I was lying in bed so I turned on the television and they were playing Christmas movies in July at the time to lift everybody’s spirits because it was the height of COVID,” she said.
She started thinking about how she’d never seen a Christmas movie about a fitness instructor: “I thought, ‘what a cute idea for a plot line for a Christmas movie.’ “
She posted on social media that she couldn’t sleep and was watching a Christmas movie. That August, she was invited to be a guest on a Hallmark podcast, when she shared her idea for the Christmas story. They hooked her up with co-writer White and Kloots pitched the project in December 2020 to CBS, whose executives said they loved it.
“It was an insane dream come true,” Kloots said of the film project, whose script was developed over a two-year period.
The romantic comedy “Fit for Christmas,” shot in Vancouver in August, co-stars Canadian actor Paul Greene as Griffin. He’s known as the “King of Christmas” for the more than 11 holiday films he has under his belt.
“Paul was a Christmas miracle. He was the best co-star a girl could dream to have,” Kloots said. “He was just so generous and kind and fun and easygoing — easy to work with.”
“We had so much fun together; instant chemistry.”
The cast filmed in 100-degree temperatures outside in Vancouver, wearing winter coats, scarves and hats. She loves the heat, so she didn’t mind filming in it for 18 days.
“They’re such pros,” Kloots said of the production team. “They know how to make it look like it was the coldest, snowy day.”
Kloots has incorporated her own fitness class moves into the movie, which combines jump roping and dance. Gearing up for the premiere Sunday, she’ll teach the movie’s routines at a morning live fitness class in Los Angeles, set to Christmas music. She’ll donate the event proceeds to the nonprofit Blessings in a Backpack, which feeds schoolchildren who might otherwise go hungry on the weekends.
‘Keep living’:Amanda Kloots reflects on life, future after losing husband to COVID-19
Her son Elvis, now 3, even makes an appearance in a small scene halfway through “Fit for Christmas.”
“Watch the movie; you can’t miss him. His character’s name is Elvis,” Kloots said. “It was really fun to have him on set with me. We had a blast and he was such a good little actor and had a lot of fun.”
Elvis is now at the age where he understands about Santa and has started asking for presents.
Kloots said that her own Christmas memories with her parents and four siblings in Canton are still near and dear to her heart: “I love Christmas. I had and still have the best memories of the holidays from growing up in Ohio.”
Kloots, who made it to the finale competing on “Dancing With the Stars” last year, said the experience brought unexpected healing, including sharing her emotions through a tender dance set to a cover of her husband’s song, “Live Your Life.”
More:Canton native Amanda Kloots says ‘Dancing with the Stars’ journey brings unexpected healing
Now, she’s honoring Cordero’s memory with the children’s book “Tell Me Your Dreams,” inspired by Kloots’ bedtime rituals with Elvis. In the story, a little boy tells his mom about all the things he wants to dream about, including seeing his beloved Dada again.
In this story, Dada takes his little boy on fantastical adventures in his dreams before bringing him back to his crib. The book, which is available for preorder, will release April 25, 2023.
More:Amanda Kloots discusses joy, hard work of ‘Dancing with the Stars’
“For me, it’s just a way to encourage people to connect in your dreams to anyone that you’ve lost,” Kloots said.
Arts and restaurant writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or


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