Kristoffer Polaha is a familiar face that you've no doubt seen in countless places. Whether it's from one of his many roles on the Hallmark Channel or from his recent notable role in the new Wonder Woman 1984 starring Chris Pine and Gal Gadot, odds are you recognize the actor. The married father of three has had a steady acting career over the years that first started back when he was in high school.
"The first play I did, I was the only freshman among seniors and juniors, and they were all deadly serious about the art of acting," Polaha explained to Moments With Mercy.
"I remember the play; A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. I remember seeing the guy who played Stanley Kawolski, it was this guy named Chris Rosco, I saw him in the library. I was like, "Hey man, how are you doing?" And he was pouring over maps of New Orleans to better understand the French Quarter, to see where his character would live and how he would get home; he was doing character study. I just thought it was so cool! I was like, "That's fun, I want to do that."
The Reno, Nevada native attended NYU's Tisch School Of Arts where his bachelor's degree in acting led to a successful career in Hollywood. After initially getting started in theater in New York City, Polaha started booking roles on TV series like That's Life, Angel, Roswell, Birds of Prey, Tru Calling, and Close to Home. His first lead role came on the FOX series North Shore, a primetime soap set in Hawaii which ran for one season. This led to more starring roles on Miss Guided, Valentine, the role of Nathaniel "Baze" Bazile on the CW series Life Unexpected, Ringer opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Backstrom. He's even had recurring roles on notable shows like Mad Men, Castle, and Condor.
The first time the Hallmark Channel came calling, Polaha had no idea what he was in store for. The film was called Dater's Handbook and his agent's other client, Meghan Markle was also attached. Yes, that's the Meghan that is now the Duchess of Sussex. Apparently, they had a great time together long before she married Prince Harry.
"One of the things that she was really clear about was that she didn't want to be an actress forever," Polaha explained to My Devotional Thoughts.
"She was already a part of the UN doing stuff for children, education, and women's rights in Africa. She was already moving in the direction of being a global ambassador, and I think that being married to Prince Harry is going to be this amazing opportunity to ultimately pursue what she was designed for, which is this awesome opportunity to help people on a massive scale. So Hallmark opened up the door for me to have those remarkable interactions with this incredible woman who has now married into the royal family and will no doubt change the world for the better."
This led to another Hallmark film, Hearts of Christmas, followed by Rocky Mountain Christmas, Pearl in Paradise, A Small Town Christmas, and the Mystery 101 series with Jill Wagner on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. He also recently starred in Double Holiday, a Hallmark film centered around Hanukkah. Polaha told Moments With Mercy that he thinks that part of the reason that the Hallmark Channel is so important to so many people is that the feel-good network provides a welcome escape from some of the horrors of our everyday lives.
"There seems to be something every quarter that's awful, and it's exhausting. I think we are all sort of subconsciously wanting relief from that, and Hallmark has uniquely become the only place on television...and other people are trying, but Hallmark has been really, really true to a set of standards and values that they haven't wavered from.
"I think that because they're consistent, it's become almost a safe haven for people to go and sit down and watch if you want an escape...There are no surprises, and I think people love that. I think it doesn't matter where you live or who you are or what your economic status is, I think it's become a place for everybody to go and feel good for a little bit."
Outside of his career, Polaha is married to former actress Julianne Morris and the longtime couple has three boys together -- Caleb, Jude, and Micah. They are primarily based in Los Angeles while Dad travels all over for work. The actor has a few notable projects currently in the works. He has a role in the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion and recently signed a book deal to write a series of romance novels with Anna Gomez. Kris plans to produce the stories for film and TV with his company Podunk Productions.
"In the constantly shifting Hollywood landscape, we are endeavoring to enlarge our creative footprint by creating content for the publishing world first, and then adapting the stories that people love straight to film while keeping the creative team behind the stories in control from page to screen," Polaha told Variety.