Ever since she was a kid growing up in North Texas, Clancy Cauble has known in her bones that she would be an actress like her mother.
“It was always a given,” she says. “There was never a Plan B.”
Mom didn’t go out of her way to discourage her youngest daughter from following in her footsteps, but she was adamant about setting ground rules.
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First, Cauble would experience a normal show-biz-free childhood. Then, she would go to college. Then, if acting was something she still wanted to pursue, she would have Whelchel’s blessing.
So what did the young woman do? She put her nose to the grindstone at the University of North Texas and earned a four-year science degree in just two years.
Then she moved to Los Angeles, got an agent and started taking acting classes.
“When I know I want something,” Cauble says, “I know I want it.”
Now, at 23, Cauble makes her television acting debut alongside her mother in Hearts of Spring, a Hallmark Channel movie that premieres at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Whelchel, who left Hollywood in 2003 to raise her family in North Texas, is the leading lady and therefore does most of the heavy lifting in this romantic comedy. But Cauble has a key supporting role.
Whelchel plays Carly, a single mother who seemingly has everything going her way.
She’s a successful florist and an up-and-coming blogger with a big following for her parenting advice. Daughter Sadie (Cauble) is her best friend; Carly couldn’t have done the parenting thing any better.
She also has a promising romance percolating with a Mr. Perfect doctor (Michael Shanks).
But with this being a Hallmark Channel movie, there will be a few snags before the happy ending.
For starters, Sadie wants to travel abroad, or at least go to college next year out of state. Alas, Carly isn’t ready to be an empty-nest parent.
Meanwhile, there’s a potential landmine in the romance department. Carly and her new beau, a single dad with a stricter parenting philosophy, have been waging an anonymous flame war on her “Bestie Mom” website.
If she finds out that he’s the culprit (which is inevitable), there’s going to be trouble.
Cauble made her professional acting debut last year in a Jacksonville, Fla., production of Butterflies Are Free.
It was Whelchel’s idea for her real-life daughter to become her movie daughter.
“My mom came up with the idea behind the movie,” Cauble says. “When she sold it to Hallmark, she said, ‘Hey, also, my daughter would be perfect to play Sadie.’ From the get-go, Hallmark was onboard.”
It’s not like Cauble needed to be a method actor to ace the role of Whelchel’s best-friend daughter. That’s a performance she has spent her entire life perfecting.
Cauble says there was an element of on-the-job training in her movie debut, so she’s glad she had a familiar face there to help her.
“I’ve been on sets before, obviously off to the side and behind the camera, so I was semi-familiar with how movies work,” Cauble says. “But being in front of the camera now, it was very eye-opening how technical the work is: the performer’s relationship to the camera.
“I had a steep learning curve, so it was good having my mom there to guide me along.”
Cauble has lived in California for the past three years, but she was in Las Colinas last week to help her older sister pack for a big move. Cauble considers herself to be a Californian through and through, but sometimes she finds out otherwise.
“When my family first moved to Texas when I was 11,” she says, “my form of rebellion was to declare I would never say the word ‘y’all.’ And I have held true to that. However, since moving back to California, I’m genuinely surprised every time someone asks, ‘Are you from Texas? I detect an accent.’
“That happens even without me dropping a single ‘y’all.’ Evidently, there’s more Texan in me than I think.”
Hearts of Spring
- 8 p.m. Saturday
- Hallmark Channel