Corbin Bleu

Corbin Bleu stars in the upcoming Hallmark movie “Love, for Real.”

Hallmark is launching a wave of “Summer Nights” programming that begins Saturday and will run all through August.

Saturday’s kickoff movie, “Love, for Real,” follows Hayley (Chloe Bridges) and her best friend Bree (Taiana Tully), who enroll in a reality dating show — think: “The Bachelor” — to further their careers. But despite her initial wishes, the producers decide they want to keep Hayley around. It’s a juicy idea for a story, and a new topic for a Hallmark feature. We talked to one of the stars of the film, Corbin Bleu, about his character, whether or not he’d ever do a reality dating show (spoiler — definitely not) and what his thoughts are on “High School Musical” so many years later.

“I play Marco Tate, a former pro football player, who after injuring himself and realizing that his football career is over decides to go on the Bachelor-like reality dating show “Heart Choices” because it might be able to help ‘keep him in the spotlight,’” said Bleu of his role in the film. “Regardless of his fear of people forgetting about him, he’s genuinely a humble and caring guy who just needs someone he can be himself around, and he’s thrown for a loop when he actually makes a real connection on the show with Bree.

“In the film we get to see the major differences between what an audience sees on their televisions (a very produced and edited TV show) and the actual reality of what’s happening on the set of a reality show,” Bleu explained. “There’s manipulation, pressure to be disingenuous, competition, and the blur between what’s real and what’s not that’s easy to get caught up in.”

This marks Bleu’s first foray into the magical world of Hallmark programming, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in many more.

“There’s such a loyal Hallmark audience, my mom being one of them, and as easy as their programming is to consume is as easy and pleasant as it was to be on one of their sets.”

But the pressing question: Would Bleu ever do a reality dating show himself?

“Not a chance in hell!” the actor laughs. Of course, he’s been married to wife Sasha for five years now, so the point is moot. “But even just filming the scenes of this movie, I kept saying how I could never do this in real life. It’s nerve-wracking and I would have anxiety through the roof!”

You might recognize Bleu’s familiar face from his younger days as a member of the cast of the breakout hit movie “High School Musical” and its subsequent sequels, where he played basketball team member (and Zac Efron’s best friend) Chad Danforth.

When asked what his favorite memory from that time was, Bleu spilled, “It doesn’t really come down to a single memory, but it was such a surreal time that the relationships we developed are life bonds rooted in sharing an unbelievable experience together. It’s great to see everyone’s individual successes continue over the years, and when we do get together, we also have stories to reminisce over.”

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