Continuing its trend of adapting best-sellers into movies, Netflix has acquired the rights to Richard Paul Evan’s New York Times bestselling novel, The Noel Diary. The upcoming adaptation of this holiday-themed story is about a man who receives the best Christmas present he could ask for: the chance to re-write his past.
The film will be helmed by Oscar-nominated veteran director Charles Shyer of Father of the Bride, Private Benjamin, and Alfie fame.
Shyer has also written the script for the movie along with writer Rebecca Connor (The Family) and David Golden. Timothy O. Johnson of Johnson Production Group, Margret Huddleston, and Stephanie Slack are the producers, while Hartley and Norman Stephens serve as the executive producers.
What’s the plot of The Noel Diary?
Netflix’s The Noel Diary is an adaptation of Richard Paul Evans’ bestselling novel of the same name and its logline is quite extensive:
Bestselling romance author Jacob Churcher hasn’t been home for almost twenty years—not since his mentally ill mother kicked him out of the house when he was just sixteen. When a lawyer calls, days before Christmas, to inform him that his estranged mother has passed away and left her house to him, Jacob returns not just to settle the estate but to try and reconcile with the past and the pain and abuse he experienced as a child. Also, maybe cleaning out her house will be slightly less depressing than spending the holidays alone, watching re-runs of Christmas classics. But as it turns out, the house holds more than just difficult memories, Jacob’s mother had become a hoarder and he must excavate through two decades worth of clutter.
As Jacob digs through the detritus, like an archaeologist, he uncovers many puzzling items including a diary left by someone named Noel, a young woman he has no recollection of, who stayed with Jacob’s family during her pregnancy. That’s not the only echo from the past. Jacob has an unexpected visitor, Rachel, a woman looking for the mother who put her up for adoption thirty years before. United by their quest to make sense of the past and rewrite their futures, Jacob and Rachel begin a search for Noel. Along the way they find more than they possibly imagined, including grace, forgiveness and a chance at love.
Netflix’s own logline for the series is much more brief saying:
“A man returns home at his mother’s death and while exploring his own past, falls in love with a family acquaintance. Based on the novel by Richard Paul Evans.”
Who is cast in The Noel Diary?
It was announced in August 2020 that This is Us star Justin Hartley would lead The Noel Diary as Jacob Churcher. Hartley will be joined by Golden Globe nominee Bonnie Bedelia (Die Hard, Parenthood) and another Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Treat Williams (Everwood, Hair, Blue Bloods).
Further cast members include:
- James Remar (Sex and the City: A Farewell)
- Essence Atkins (A Haunted House)
- Andrea Sooch (Better Call Saul)
- Barrett Doss as Rachel (Iron Fist)
- Vivian Full as Shari (The Escape Room)
- Aaron Costa Ganis (Lazy Eye)
What’s the production status on The Noel Diary?
Production for The Noel Diary took place in Stamford, Connecticut, between May 24 and June 28, 2021, according to issue 1241 of Production Weekly.
Additional filming took place in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Local reporting spotted the production filming on-location.
In May 2021, Stamford Advocate reported they were actively looking for extras for the production.
The Hartford Courant posted that the Manchester Memorial Hospital was decorated for the holidays in mid-June 2021.
The DailyMail also reported in late June 2022 (just before the movie wrapped) several pictures, including Justin Hartley on set.
When will The Noel Diary be released on Netflix?
We did originally predict the Christmas movie in holiday season 2021 but that didn’t come to pass.
Instead, the movie will premiere for the 2022 holiday season, with its Netflix release date set for November 24th, 2022. It’s cited as a “major tentpole Christmas movie” for 2022.