The True Story Of How Train Frontman Pat Monahan Landed On The Hallmark Channel

We're used to hearing Pat Monahan in the background of films, but rarely is he ever in front of the camera. However, that all changed when he landed a role in one of the Hallmark Channel's holiday movies. 

Monahan, the leading man of the pop rock band Train, began his singing career in the early 90s, but didn't find big success until he and his band released the 2001 album titled "Drops of Jupiter." They followed that success by releasing the smash hit track "Hey, Soul Sister" in 2009. They were unstoppable, and Monahan didn't limit himself to just music. Like Rihanna, Beyoncé, and so many other artists, Monahan ventured into the acting world.

In 2011, the musician revealed his passion for acting to Rolling Stone. He shared, "I've lived in LA a few times, and one of the times I was living there I was pursuing acting as a profession. I didn't just want to be in shows but I wanted to pursue actually being good at it." Monahan noted that he'd taken acting classes, but his career eventually led him to music, or so he thought. At the time, the singer had only made cameos in several television series, including "CSI: New York" and "The Wedding Band." It wasn't until 2021 that he made his film debut with a Hallmark Channel movie — and he has quite an interesting story on how he landed the gig.

Pat Monahan's album inspired Hallmark

In 2015, Pat Monahan and the rest of the Train ensemble dropped a Christmas album titled "Christmas in Tahoe." At the time, the band was just trying to put their spin on some Christmas classics and some new holiday songs. Monahan told Billboard, "Christmas songs are some of the greatest songs ever written, so I didn't want to just write a good song and then tag Christmas on it. I wanted to write a good Christmas song that couldn't be anything but a Christmas song." While Train was just trying to bring some holiday music into the world, the album would eventually turn into inspiration for a 2021 Hallmark Channel film.

Monahan revealed that when they released "Christmas in Tahoe," their team immediately went to Hallmark to pitch the idea of a movie, per People. He shared, "They actually went to Hallmark right away because Hallmark rules Christmas. They started working on it right away." Monahan was an executive producer on the film also titled "Christmas in Tahoe," so it only seemed fitting to have him play a role in the project.

In the movie, Monahan plays the best friend of Claire Rhodes, played by Laura Osnes, who is a talent booker trying to save her family's annual Christmas show. The movie eventually hit the network, but it took a while to make it to television, and there's a surprising reason as to why.

Christmas in Tahoe struggled to find its sound

Pat Monahan and Train released their album "Christmas in Tahoe" in 2015, and their team pitched it immediately to Hallmark. But why did it take so long for the album to come to life in a film? Well, the reason behind the delay may be a bit surprising to Hallmark fans. Monahan explained to People, "I think that's what took so long because we wanted to make it a little younger and have it have more music in it." Hallmark seemed to have trouble adjusting to younger actors and adding more music, which seems shocking considering they had a musician, aka Monahan, on the team. He said, "Adding more music to it was, I think, something that was challenging for them. But I think they did a great job of it." 

At the end of the day, the network and Monahan were able to work it out and the musician was hopeful that the music would be what sets it apart from other Hallmark holiday classics.

Since "Christmas in Tahoe," Monahan has not returned to the Hallmark channel, but the musician has released more holiday songs. In 2022, Train dropped "Postcards from Tahoe," which included a couple of tracks from their original Christmas album and some new songs. So, who knows, maybe in six years we will see another Hallmark film about the new holiday songs Monahan and his band released.