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'Castle for Christmas' fulfilled Brooke Shields' comedy dreams

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'Castle for Christmas' fulfilled Brooke Shields' comedy dreams
Brooke Shields stars in "A Castle for Christmas." Photo by Peter Foley/UPI

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Brooke Shields, who starred in and executive produced the Netflix movie, A Castle for Christmas, premiering Friday, said the romantic comedy allowed her to perform her favorite types of comedy.

Shields plays Sophie Brown, an American author who travels to Scotland and attempts to buy a castle. But she is out of her element learning about the upkeep and maintenance of a castle.

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Shields, 56, said she enjoyed performing physical comedy when Sophie takes pratfalls, and added more to the script.

"I think it's funny when you see someone just unravel," Shields said. "There's something that happens to me when I can attach my body to it that finds the humor. It's easier for me to find the humor with the physicality than just the words."

"I kept fighting for all of it," Shields told UPI in a Zoom interview. "Every time, I'd be like, 'OK, well, here's another opportunity. She should do this. This should happen to her.'"

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Back in New York, Sophie was fielding a backlash for her latest book. Fans were upset that she killed off a beloved character, but her ex-husband inspired that character.

The owner of the Scottish castle and the Duke of Dunbar, Myles (Cary Elwes), does not want to sell to Sophie. Myles isn't fond of Americans, either.

Since A Castle for Christmas is a romantic comedy, Shields said it's obvious Sophie and Myles are going to fall for each other. Shields said the genre works no matter how many times you see a similar story.

"We know what the stories are," Shields said. "We know what's going to happen, and still I'm as invested. I cry where the moments are to cry. I laugh. I get choked up."

Sophie and Myles' courtship includes a Scottish ballroom dance. Vivienne Westwood designed Shields' gown.

"It's got that Vivienne Westwood construction with the corset, the multiple tartans, and the material is to die for," Shields said.

Since they filmed in Scotland, Shields said the Scottish crew already knew the dance she and Elwes performed. She said they would rehearse with the transportation drivers, who would come to work every Friday in their kilts.

"So in our rehearsals, we would dance with the transpo guys because they all knew them from school," Shields said.

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Shields appeared in movies like Alice, Sweet Alice, Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon before she was 16. During her teens, she modeled for Calvin Klein and was featured on the cover of Vogue.

Shields said she fell into acting simply because filmmakers asked her to. By the mid-'90s, Shields said, she discovered her love of comedy.

"After I did a Friends episode, that sort of opened up the world of TV sitcoms to me," Shields said. "I don't want to ever go back. I just love comedy so much that I'm very happy right in this lane."

After the 1996 Friends episode, Shields got her own show. Suddenly Susan starred Shields as a magazine writer and lasted four seasons.

"I think when you do a show like that day in and day out for years, you really start to understand the language of comedy," Shields said. "I just started thinking I want to live here. I don't really want to live anywhere else. I want to live right here in this type of TV and film."

Comedies like That '70s Show, Hannah Montana and The Middle let Shields return to sitcom. She also dabbled in drama on shows like nip/tuck, Lipstick Jungle and Law & Order: SVU.

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Shields said she is committed to comedy now. She said she hopes A Castle for Christmas will be a success and lead to more.

"They really are trying to take this section of Netflix and really think about women over a certain age -- women who are in my generation," Shields said. "They're not about women needing to be saved."

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