Reunited and it feels so good.
Kim Fields is teaming up with her former “Facts of Life” castmates for the upcoming Lifetime holiday film “You Light Up My Christmas,” which is premiering on Dec. 1 as part of the network’s “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” programming.
The film, inspired by true events, tells the tale of Emma (Fields) returning to her hometown, which is built around her family’s pioneer Christmas factory, two weeks before the holiday. But when she discovers the lights that once lit up her town have gone dim, she finds herself reconnecting with a former flame (Adrian Holmes), all while reigniting the neighborhood with holiday cheer.
The “Facts of Life” sitcom cast reunite for “You Light Up My Christmas.”
(Photo by Brendan George Ko/Lifetime)
“My ‘Facts of Life’ sisters, as executive producer, I was able to just call some folks,” the 50-year-old told People magazine on Thursday. “But also, just from the standpoint of, this time of year, this season of family, and nostalgia, and memories, and I said, ‘You know, I’d love to create a series of sequence in a couple of scenes, where we are together.’”
Fields shared the women were also determined to honor their late co-star Charlotte Rae, who played Edna Garrett on both “The Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes.” The actress passed away in 2018 at the age of 92.
“We find these ladies [in an] ice skating rink called Charlotte’s,” Fields explained to the outlet. “I asked production and the network to name it Charlotte’s for Charlotte Rae, who passed last year.”
“Then, the girls… they were first of all, just so proud of me,” continued Fields. “And they were just like, ‘Yeah, I’m in, whatever it is.’ Then to be able to say, ‘Well, what do you want to do? What kind of role do you want to play? What kind of character do you want to be?’ They’re like, ‘Really, for real? Yeah, I’d like to do this. Can my character be named after my grandma?’ All sorts of things that would just make it fun for them, and at the same time, great little moments and extra Christmas gifts of whimsy and magic for the fans, and just that sentiment of family, you know? And some inside jokes for fans.”
“Facts of Life” cast: Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner, Nancy McKeon as Joanna ‘Jo’ Marie Polniaczek Bonner, Kim Fields as Dorothy ‘Tootie’ Ramsey, Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Edna Ann Garrett, Mindy Cohn as Natalie Letisha Sage Green.
Even though “The Facts of Life” came to an end over 30 years ago, Fields insisted the women are closer than ever.
“Well, we’ve been around each other all the time,” said Fields. “Not all the time, but from the time we started living life after the show ended, to now, we certainly have seen each other. Nancy and I went to a Michael McDonald concert last year in New York. Lisa and I did some promotional stuff in Toronto last year. Mindy and I had a pizza party… so we see each other. It was like an ‘Oh my gosh!’ If anything, that comes to play when we see the kids, when they see their nephews, my kids, or that sort of thing, or Lisa’s daughter, who is pregnant now, and she was on set.”
“Working together, the three of them are still incredibly wonderful actors,” added Fields.
Fields, who has enjoyed a decades-long career, also shared she resonated with her character Emma.
“Back in the ‘90s, my light was barely there, because life had just — I just felt like life had kept knocking me down, and knocking me down,” Fields explained. “Divorce and my series was ending… It’s like one of those, you look and go, ‘Whose life is this? I didn’t sign up for this?’ There’s that, and then as you start to connect your light with others, or listen to someone else’s story about their light, that helps you turn yours a little brighter. You get inspired and you get hopeful.”
In a 2017 interview, Fields told Fox News she and her “Facts of Life” family continued to stay in touch.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing people,” she said at the time. “The castmates of pretty much every show that I’ve ever worked on. So that being said, you become a family. You truly do, and especially if you were doing it for years. Like ‘Facts of Life’ was nine years of my life, of our lives, so we’re all very close still to this day, especially the core girls, and [actress] Charlotte [Rae].”
And Fields continues to have fond memories from her time filming the series, including learning to shave her legs and having one future A-lister personally show off his comedic chops.
Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner, George Clooney as George Burnett.
(Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty)
“I think ‘Facts of Life’ fans will certainly be surprised… of the impressions that George Clooney used to do for us to make us laugh,” she chuckled.