Actress Shunned While Filming in Amish Community

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Photo: Up Tv/Love Finds you in Charm

The second installment of UP's movie franchise, "Love Finds You," arrives on DVD Jan. 12, with its film "Love Finds You in Charm." The Christian Post caught up with lead actress Danielle Chuchran to talk about her experience with the Amish culture while filming in the community.

"Love Finds You in Charm" is from Anchor Bay Entertainment stars Trevor Donovan ("Texas Rising," "Melissa & Joey," "90210"), Chuchran ("Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat," "The Bold and the Beautiful"), Drew Fuller ("Army Wives," "Charmed") and Tiffany Dupont ("Born to Race: Fast Track," "Greek," "Cheaper by the Dozen").

The modern, romantic film is based on the book, Love Finds You in Charm, Ohio, by Annalisa Daughety and was written by Bryar Freed-Golden and directed by Terry Cunningham. The movie is about a young Amish woman who is not satisfied with her perfectly predictable life at home so she visits a cousin for the summer. Over the summer, she is exposed to the world outside of the Amish culture and finds friendship and more. She is then forced to come to terms with her life and has to decide what she wants.

When asked if it was her first time being exposed to the Amish culture, Chuchran revealed that it was not. She'd in fact played an Amish girl when she was about 14, in a film called "Saving Sarah Cain." She shares that her experience, however, was a very different thing this time around because her prior experience was with the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish, and this time for "Love Finds You In Charm" the cast of the film went to Charm, and Sugarcreek of the Amish country.

Growing up in Utah, Chuchran was raised as a Mormon in The Church of Latter-day Saints. She said while filming the movie she saw parallels with her upbringing and the Amish community because they also have strict standards.

But she admitted that she learned a lot about the Amish culture through this latest film. "They don't wear make up, they don't dress in a way that draws attention," Chuchran explained.

The Amish people are known for simple living, dressing plainly, and for their reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology, such as television, cell phones, cars and electricity.

Although Chuchran has a strong admiration for the Amish people, she did say there were some things about their teachings that were disheartening.

In "Love Finds You in Charm" her character Emma was discouraged from associating with people who were not Amish, people better known by the Amish as "Englishers." The actress learned first hand what that experience was like, but from the other side of things as she too was considered an Englisher by the community in where she was filming.

"I'm just speaking for me, but honestly it breaks my heart when people discourage other people from associating with different beliefs," Chuchran passionately stated. "If maybe given a different chance and grew up in a different community they would have maybe had your beliefs. We are all people. I have many friends that I love with all of my heart. We have very different views on things but I still love them as a person. So I think it's so sad when you're encouraged to disassociate from people that don't have the same beliefs."

Chuchran shared that while filming in Ohio, she went into a grocery store, dressed in her everyday clothes and held her cell phone. She explained that although many of the Amish were kind and some smiled, others wanted no association with her.

"There was this one time in particular that I smiled at this little girl, she was maybe six or seven and she smiled and wanted to wave back and her dad immediately pulled her away and kinda scolded her a little bit and took her down the aisle and I felt horrible," the 22-year-old said.

"It broke my heart and made me feel like, 'oh my gosh, am I a bad person?' I saw how that little instance affected me and it totally made me feel sad and I never want to do that to anybody. I never want to make them feel like they are below me or anything because they're not, we're all equal," she maintained.

The Los Angeles resident said her experience living among the Amish was not all bad, however, and she enjoyed all of the market places and produce and dairies from the local Amish community.

"It's such a beautiful concept because there are no distractions. They don't put the TVs on at night, they don't have [any]. You certainly have a stronger connection with having to communicate and interact with the people around you," she continued. "It's a lot of work. The women and men both have their share of chores that they have to do and things that they have to get done throughout the day. It's a lot harder because they don't use the type of equipment and the things that we have the luxury of using."

Overall Chuchran was grateful to be immersed in such a unique culture for a time, and even more, said she enjoyed playing Emma Miller in "Love Finds You In Charm."

"I think that this is such a great film, it something that you can sit down with your whole family, any age and watch it and there's literally something in this film for everybody," she concluded.

The Dove family-approved movie arrives on DVD January 12. For more information and to follow the cast and talent from the film you can visit UPtv.com

jeannie.law@christianpost.com