As soon as Kristoffer Polaha read the script for his third Hallmark Christmas movie, “Small Town Christmas,” he knew exactly how he wanted to bring his character, Emmett, to life.

The Miracles of Christmas movie finds bookstore owner Emmett and author Nell (Ashley Newbrough, “Privileged”) reuniting five years after he stood her up on a first date, seemingly without explanation. Now, she’s in his hometown on a book tour, and, soon, the two realize there’s been a lot of miscommunication between them, but the feelings they once had for each other are still there.

Once Polaha, who most recently starred in Hallmark’s “Pearl in Paradise,” read this story, he visualized right away how Emmett should be portrayed — thanks to a classic Christmas movie, that is.

small town christmas hallmark Ashley Newbrough and Kristoffer Polaha star in Hallmark’s “Small Town Christmas.” Photo: Crown Media / Ryan Plummer

“There was a pacing in Emmett’s dialogue, in the way that he was written, that reminded me of George Bailey from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ so Jimmy Stewart,” Polaha told International Business Times. “So, I called my agent and I said, ‘I’ll do it if they’ll let me play Jimmy Stewart.”

From there, he was set on the idea. During his first meeting with the director, Maclain Nelson, Polaha explained the concept and what exactly “playing Jimmy Stewart” meant to him.

“What you’ll see is this sort of unbridled enthusiasm, and it should feel like he’s a guy that would’ve popped out of a movie from 1940,” the “Life Unexpected” alum told IBT. “Like he’s full of joy and full of enthusiasm, and he loves life and he loves Christmas.”

Despite seemingly locking in this concept, Polaha realized he had to make some changes when he finally met his co-star, Newbrough.

“I did make this decision to play Emmett kind of like George Bailey and kind of aw-shucksy and a little...not high on sex appeal,” he said. “And then I met Ashley at the table read, and when she walked in, I was like, ‘Well, shoot, she’s so pretty, she has to be attracted to this guy. I have to calibrate it a little bit. I have to change — I have to recalibrate him so that he’s somebody that she’d be attracted to.”

Essentially, Polaha felt that Emmett “couldn’t be a total nerd” if he was going to win the heart of Newbrough’s character. “So, meeting Ashley made me recalibrate my ultimate choice on how to play Emmett and [to] kind of make him a little more of someone that you would be attracted to.”

What exactly does that recalibration look like? Tune in Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries to watch “Small Town Christmas” to find out!