Lifetime’s first queer Christmas movie casts real-life married couple as gay leads and is it time to crack the eggnog out yet?
A Lifetime gay Christmas movie will star real-life couple Blake Lee and Ben Lewis as a pair of budding lovers, it has been confirmed.
The Christmas Setup will be the first LGBT+ holiday movie for the Lifetime network, long known for its fuzzy, family-oriented programming.
Billed as a feel-good romance, the movie will see Lewis star as Hugo, a high-strung New York lawyer who heads over to Milwaukee, according to TV Line.
His mother Kate, played by Fran Drescher, has a talent for matchmaking, so she sets up her son with Patrick, played by Lewis’ real-life husband, Lee.
Patrick is a high school buddy and secret crush of Hugo’s who has just returned from a successful venture in Silicon Valley.
The pair hit it off — but of course, it wouldn’t be a love story without the hitch.
Soon, the pair learn that Hugo is tipped for a major promotion that would demand him moving to London, England, forcing him to choose love or his career, as it’s impossible to have both, apparently.
The film was written by Michael Murray and directed by Pat Mills. It also stars GLOW‘s Ellen Wong as Hugo’s best friend Madelyn, and signals a shift from Lifetime as it diversifies its 30 movie-strong holiday line-up, “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime”.
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This year’s slate also includes the network’s first Asian-American led film, A Sugar & Spice Holiday.
Actually casting two gay men in the roles of two gay men will no doubt be welcomed by LGBT+ folk who have expressed increasing frustration at cis and/or straight actors being picked for queer roles.
Only recently, the film A Good Man became a lightning rod for criticism after it cast a cisgender woman in the role of a trans man.
Prior to The Christmas Setup, Lewis appeared on The CW’s Arrow series, starring as William Clayton. He requested his character, who appeared in the last two seasons, to be gay.
Clayton ended up coming out as gay after several episodes of it being alluded to.
“‘God, no! I’m gay and she’s my MOM!’ may be my favourite line of dialogue ever,” tweeted Lewis at the time.