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Sex and the City Star Kristin Davis on the Surprising Advice Shirley MacLaine Gave Her

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Shirley MacLaine may by starring in A Heavenly Christmas alongside Kristin Davis, but if you ask the Sex and the City star, MacLaine might actually be considered the Hallmark Channel-film’s co-director!

Stopping by PEOPLE Now, the 51-year-old actress revealed that MacLaine would privately direct her on set.

“I did everything she said, absolutely,” Davis said. “She’s very kind of motherly, but also tough. She wants you to be strong and tough.”

Davis said MacLaine was a “team player” and gave her all sorts of advice about navigating life on set, like “stand up for yourself” and “if we need another take, we’re going to ask for one — we’re going to get what we need.”

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty; Cindy Ord/Getty

But sometimes, MacLaine’s comments were far more personal.

“There was one scene she thought I was slouching, and she was like, ‘You have to sit up,’ ” Davis explained. “And then she would tell me things like, ‘Don’t open your eyes so wide.’ … She’d be like, ‘Just a little less!’ ”

Davis said she never felt self-conscious by the advice. “Mostly, it was that I really admired her and wanted to please her,” she said. “I hadn’t ever really [worked with] someone of her stature and legend — I’ve watched her my whole life.”

“I felt taken care of because I knew she had my back,” she continued, “and that’s what you want.”

A Heavenly Christmas premieres Saturday at 8. p.m. on the Hallmark Channel.