Amanda Kloots On How Late Husband Nick Cordero Inspired Holiday Movie 'Fit For Christmas' (Exclusive)

Nearly two and a half years following the death of her husband, Nick Cordero, Amanda Kloots is continuing to keep his memory alive.

In an interview with TooFab, the actress and fitness instructor opened up about how her late husband inspired her new holiday film, “Fit For Christmas,” which she developed, co-wrote and executive produced.

Kloots, 40, revealed that she came up with the concept way back in July 2020, just two weeks after Cordero died at the age of 41 due to complications from COVID-19. While up late one night, unable to sleep as she grieved the tragic loss of her husband, the former Broadway star ended up watching Christmas films on TV. And according to Kloots, she “created the whole first version of this movie in [her] head that night in bed.”

“Fit For Christmas” stars follows Aubrey (Kloots), “an enthusiastic Christmas-obsessed fitness instructor at a beloved, financially beleaguered community center in quaint Mistletoe, Montana who begins a holiday romance with a charming, mysterious businessman (Hallmark star Paul Greene), complicating his plans to turn the center into a more financially profitable resort property.”

The film was shot in Canada, where Cordero was from, but that wasn’t the only connection between Cordero and the movie as Kloots revealed that she carried a piece of her late husband on set.

In addition, Kloots’ adorable 3-year-old son, Elvis, whom she shared with Cordero, made his acting debut in “Fit For Christmas,” with Kloots detailing the toddler’s experience on-set.

Meanwhile, also during her interview with TooFab, “The Talk” co-host discussed her upcoming children’s book, “Tell Me Your Dreams,” which she wrote, sharing that it is inspired by her bedtime “tradition” with Elvis, and also honors Cordero.

Finally, Kloots shared about how she balances motherhood and her personal life with her career (aka her several jobs!), while also maintaining a bright and positive attitude.

Check out the full interview in the video, above, and read on for the full Q&A!

You developed, co-wrote, executive produced, and star in “Fit For Christmas.” How did the concept of the film come about? What was the inspiration?

It was July of 2020, the height of COVID, if you remember. And Hallmark Channel was playing Christmas movies in July to help people feel better in [the] desperate time of our lives. And, I had lost Nick about two weeks before and I was laying in bed and I couldn’t sleep. And I woke up in the middle of the night and I turned on the television. And on the television was a movie called “Christmas Cookies.” And so I started laying there and I was watching “Christmas Cookies” and I was smiling and I was laughing and it was making me feel better. And I was like, you know, “Gosh, thank god for these Christmas movies right now.” And I thought, “You know, they’ve never done a Christmas movie about a fitness instructor and a fitness business, and that doesn’t make any sense. Why hasn’t that been done?” And so I created the whole first version of this movie in my head that night in bed. And then, you know, two years later we were filming it in Vancouver is the short story of it. But yeah, that’s how the concept came to be. And I feel so lucky to have been able to get to do it.

Your character Audrey is all about the Christmas spirit. Are you a big Christmas lover? If yes, what are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

I am a big Christmas lover, especially, you know, growing up, I just … I have memories of Christmas and that whole holiday season. You know, I love listening to Christmas music. I pretty much, like my character in the movie, start listening to it on November 1. I love decorating. I love doing anything that is around town, you know, like I took Elvis to the LA Philharmonic, they were doing a holiday sing-along and the other night we went to “Disney on Ice.” It’s fun to go do those holiday things, even going to the mall, you know, it’s so funny ’cause for years, you know, we weren’t going to the mall anymore because of COVID. I took Elvis to the mall a couple weeks ago. We were just walking around the mall and everyone was shopping and the Christmas tunes were playing and I was like, “Oh my god, I feel like it’s like 1997 and I’m back in high school shopping for my Christmas gifts for my family!” It felt so nostalgic. So I think just doing anything that, you know, gets you into the holiday spirit is my favorite.

Your adorable son Elvis makes his acting debut in this with a little cameo — and he absolutely nailed it! What was it like filming with your son? Was he a natural?

Oh my god, it was so fun having him on set. I was worried because I didn’t know, you know, how he was going to do. And then having been on set and knowing the long days, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I really don’t know how he’s going to do with this.” But he was a champ. He came on set. I was in the back room, rehearsing his lines with him. We got, you know, him in his place and he did it. He just did his line and then take after take started improv-ing his line and then yelling “cut” doing all of these things. … I was so amazed and blown away by him. He did such an incredible job. It was [such a] full circle moment to have him there because he was in bed with me that night in July watching “Christmas Cookies” and we were filming in Canada where my husband was from. And I just thought like, “Wow, how much our lives have changed and here we are together on a movie set, filming a movie in dad’s country.” … It was just such a pinch-me moment, you know?

Did you feel like Nick was there with you? We read that you wore one of Nick’s flannels during one scene in the film. What was behind that decision? Was it nice to have a piece of him there?

Yeah. You know, that flannel ever since he passed has been like my security blanket and, you know, something that I put on, you know, from time to time. I have a couple of things like that he had that I wear. And I took that shirt up with me because, you know, Nick was a great actor and I just thought like, “I want a piece of him in case I ever feel like I, you know, need support that day.” And it was so weird because the day that we were filming, I left the house in the morning and it was a bit chilly, but you know, the day goes [on] and then it gets warmer. So I couldn’t decide if I wanted to bring it or not. I also didn’t bring it because I always fear that I’ll leave it somewhere and lose it.

But at the last second, I grabbed it and I threw it in my bag and we started filming that day and we were running way over. And this one scene that we had to do that was going to be like an early morning scene where I was going to be in like a dress turned into an in the middle of the night scene instead. So we played it as like, I couldn’t sleep and I got up in the middle of the night, so we didn’t have an outfit because I couldn’t, you know, wear the day dress that I was going to wear. And so we were scrambling because we had like a half hour to shoot this scene and we had no wardrobe on set. It was like midnight. And I was like, “I have the perfect, I have the perfect thing.” And I went and grabbed his shirt. I was like, “This is Nick’s flannel, but it’ll look like I just grabbed my dad’s flannel from, you know, our house.” And it ended up being so apropos because the whole scene is about her being very lost and needing to figure out which way she goes in life and her dad is giving her advice and it just was such a perfect scene to wear his shirt in.

Take us through filming the kickline scene. It seemed like such a blast. Did it take you back to your Rockette days?

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah! That was a fun scene because, you know, not too many people know the real secrets behind the Rockettes and how we don’t touch each other’s back, the eye high kicks and how you do it. And it really isn’t until people get in that line and try to attempt to even do a step-kick that they start to slowly understand what you deal with as a Rockette. So it was very fun because, you know, we had to do that over and over and over again. And so people are getting … and it was the hottest day that day, it was so hot that day and everybody’s outside, the sun’s beating down on us and we were just like kicking and kicking, getting our exercise in that day. But it was very, very fun. And definitely anytime I can get myself in a kickline, I just, you know, feel right at home. So yeah. It was a good day.

What can you tell us about your upcoming children’s book, “Tell Me Your Dreams?” How does the book help you keep the memory of Nick alive?

Yeah, so “Tell Me Your Dreams.” I’m so excited about [it]. I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book. It was on my vision board in 2019 and I started doing this little tradition with Elvis at nighttime where I would ask him if he wanted me to tell him his dream and he would say yes. And then I would just start creating this fantastical adventure. And every night was different, but every night involved Dada picking him up in his room in the middle of the night and Dada returning him, you know, to his crib, and then I would get them in the morning. And so every night we just started doing this little tradition and after a while, I was like, “Wait a second, this could be a great children’s book.” Because, you know, first of all, it encourages any child to, you know, to dream of, you know, things they want to do. People they want to see, whether it’s somebody like Elvis that’s lost his father, or if you’ve lost a sibling or a grandparent, it’s a way for parents to, you know, incorporate them into their kids’ lives. Because I think that’s always something that, after loss you deal with how to keep somebody’s memory alive. So I think this book actually does a great job of a fun way of encouraging that. But … it was our little tradition and it’s so exciting that it turned into a book and I’m so proud of it and yeah, it comes out in April.

You wear many hats — mom, actress, dancer, TV host, author, you run a fitness empire …. How do you manage to balance it all, protect your peace and most importantly, maintain such a bright and positive attitude? We love the “AK Positive Thoughts of the Day” that you post on Instagram!

Oh, thank you. Well, I have a lot of help. I have a lot of help and I’m constantly asking for more help and more help and more help. So on top of help, I would say I’m really good at multitasking. I am usually doing two to three things all at the same time. I’m really good about managing my time. I fit things in hour to hour, and I just try to get everything done. And then, you know, it’s the finding me time [that] is hard, I will tell you. I try to get it in, I try to, you know, fit in a massage or something to help myself, you know, relax and decompress because it is important. But it is hard. The balance of it is all very hard and it’s not, I’m not gonna try to tell you that it’s easy because it isn’t.

I would just say that it helps that everything I do, I really do love, I do love all my jobs, so that also helps. And I’ll say that, you know, listen. I’ve always been a hustler. I’ve always been somebody that has a lot going on. But, you know, I would say the beauty out of COVID, the beauty out of everything that happened in my life, it just teaches you how to live and it teaches you that every day is a precious gift. And that you don’t know what’s on the other side of the next day. And I think lately especially, we’ve just been constantly reminded of that … you wake up and you’re like, “Wait, they’re gone. They’re gone, they’re gone.” And, it’s just, I think, you know, … you got to learn to live life to the fullest every day.

So I think that was a beautiful thing that was taught to me through a very dark time, but a beautiful silver lining. So I would say it’s all of those things. It’s not — it’s definitely not just one thing and you got to stay positive, which is why I post that positive quote of the day because helps me too. I’m not always positive and sunny and cheery. I sometimes have, you know, sometimes those quotes are for me too just to get through the day. But yeah, I think it’s just all of those things.

“Fit For Christmas” is available to stream now on Paramount+. Click here to pre-order “Tell Me Your Dreams,” which will be released on April 25. Also, catch Kloots on “The Talk” weekdays on CBS.

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