Hart, Lopez lock in ABC's 'Handcuffs'


Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez have been tapped to star in the ABC Family original movie "Holidays in Handcuffs."

Hart will play Trudie, a would-be painter stuck working as a waitress. After blowing an interview at a "real" job -- disappointing her parents yet again -- and getting dumped by her boyfriend, Trudie suffers a nervous breakdown. Stressed with having to go home alone for the holidays, she kidnaps a customer, Clay Martin (Lopez), whom she plans to bring home for Christmas and introduce him to the family as "the One."

"Holidays" is set to begin principal photography this month in Calgary, Alberta. Ron Underwood ("City Slickers," ABC's "Boston Legal") is directing "Holidays" from a script by Sara Endsley. The movie is executive produced by Craig McNeil and Jody Brockway.

"Holidays" is scheduled to air in December as part of ABC Family's annual "25 Days of Christmas" programming event, which in 2006 had its best viewership numbers in its nine-year history in total viewers, adults and women 18-49 and adults and women 18-34.

Hart, best known for playing the title role on ABC/WB Network's "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," is repped by Kieran Maguire at Nine Yards Entertainment and attorney Richard Hofstetter.

Lopez, who recently appeared on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" and FX's "Nip/Tuck," is repped by TalentWorks, 3 Arts Entertainment and attorney Eric Weissler.

Lopez also recently signed on to host the 2007 Miss America Pageant, airing live Jan. 29 on CMT, and will serve as one of the announcers on the upcoming Elite Xtreme Combat event airing live Feb. 10 on Showtime.