PASADENA — It's been almost 30 years since Kelly McGillis played an Amish woman pulled into a police investigation in the Harrison Ford thriller "Witness." She plays another Amish woman in "Love Finds You in Sugarcreek," which debuts Sunday on the UP cable channel.
McGillis points out one major difference between the two roles.
"Well, obviously, I'm older," McGillis says with a smile.
The movie is a romantic mystery/suspense drama — based on the book by Serena B. Miller — set in Amish country that also stars Tom Everett Scott and Sarah Lancaster. It was filmed in Sugarcreek, Ohio, the heart of Amish country.
McGillis plays one of the three aunts to the town's single policewoman, Rachel Troyer (Lancaster). When a mysterious, scruffy stranger (Scott), shows up with his 5-year-old son, the aunts insist on taking the pair in as a matter of good will and faith. Troyer suspects the visitor is hiding a secret.
"I think Bertha is very different than the character that I played in 'Witness.' She's much more staid and a little bit stern, which I thought was really fun to play with," McGillis says.
The two roles have helped McGillis foster a great respect for the Amish. She's so impressed by their big hearts, supportive nature and strong work ethic, there are times when she thinks that she would love that kind of life. The reality is that the actress feels like she's too "addicted to electricity" to make such a dramatic change.
McGillis lives a simple life in the mountains in North Carolina. After "Witness" in 1985 and "Top Gun" in 1986, she was a hot Hollywood property. These days she's far more selective about the projects she does.
This latest role took her to Sugarcreek for the filming. Despite it being a community that has not embraced many technological advancements, the cast and crew were enthusiastically embraced. That just added to the respect McGillis has for the Amish community.
The film gives McGillis a second Amish role on her résumé. She may not be done, as she has been approached to play another Amish character.
"I think I'm relegated to play Amish people," McGillis says. "But that's okay. As long as I make a living at it, that's fine with me."
"Love Finds You In Sugarcreek": 8 p.m. Sunday, June 1, on UP