A Romance Bloomed Behind the Cameras

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Having a long, dark, Burt Reynolds-style mustache can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the circumstances. For Sean Welch Bredbenner, it turned out to be both one day in 2018.

Mr. Bredbenner, a member of the Directors Guild of America, was in Washington, working on the set of “The Man Standing Next,” a South Korean political drama set in the 1970s. That morning, an actor who had been hired to play a chauffeur failed to show up. Mr. Bredbenner — whose mustache was coincidentally period accurate — was asked to step into the chauffeur role. He obliged, despite not being particularly comfortable in front of the camera.

That was the curse.

The blessing: The surprise role earned Mr. Bredbenner some surprise money, which he used that night to take Jordan Lee Hart, who was working as the second director on the film crew, to a lavish cocktail bar.

Mr. Bredbenner and Ms. Hart, who had traveled to Washington from New York, where they each lived, met the previous year on the set of “Paterno,” the HBO mini-series. Their paths had crossed on occasion in the months since, including on the set of the Showtime series “Ray Donovan.” But it was during their time working on “The Man Standing Next” that their professional friendship began to turn into a romance. They were still working that transition out on the night they went to the cocktail bar.

“You’d call it a date looking back,” Ms. Hart said, “but maybe not at the time.”

Still, Ms. Hart said, that outing helped her recognize three facts: “I like spending time with this person, I like going out with this person, I like coming home with this person.”

When the Washington shoot was finished, Ms. Hart and Mr. Bredbenner returned to New York. Their relationship took some time to calcify.

“It was a lot of stops and starts,” Ms. Hart said, “and then one day it just didn’t stop.”

By the spring of 2019, they were more formally together. Mr. Bredbenner invited Ms. Hart to travel with him to West Virginia to meet his mother, Sandra Welch Boland, who was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. That visit drew the couple closer. Ms. Hart recognized the significance of the invitation, and Mr. Bredbenner admired the way Ms. Hart navigated the situation.

When Mr. Bredbenner’s mother died in that fall, Mr. Bredbenner inherited an heirloom ring that had once belonged to his great-grandmother. He stored the ring in his night stand, where it wasn’t exactly hidden from Ms. Hart; it became clear to both of them that he’d one day present it to her. “It was like Chekhov’s engagement ring,” Ms. Hart said.

That one day arrived in April 2021.

Ms. Hart, 31, and Mr. Bredbenner, 40, were married in the French Quarter of New Orleans on June 5 by Genevieve Dumont, a nondenominational marriage officiant. The couple is temporary living in New Orleans while Mr. Bredbenner works as an assistant director on a film shoot there. Ms. Hart, now a producer and the executive head of development for the production company Little Monster Films, is working remotely.

While Mr. Bredbenner and Ms. Hart aren’t working on the same projects at this point in their careers, they do support each other professionally in a more general way.

“This lifestyle of packing up and going to the next state or country is fun but challenging,” Ms. Hart said. “And it helps, in my opinion, to do it with a partner. Because then home is a relative word. He is kind of my new place that makes me feel comfortable and at home.”

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