Michael Urie, Philemon Chambers, Jennifer Coolidge and Kathy Najimy talk to ET about starring in Netflix's gay, Christmas rom-com.
Joining the recently expanded canon of LGBTQ holiday movies is Netflix’s Single All the Way, the platform’s first gay, Christmas romantic comedy starring Michael Urie, Philemon Chambers and Luke Macfarlane. Written by Chad Hodge (Good Behavior) and directed by Michael Mayer (Broadway’s Spring Awakening, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), the film tells the story of a recently single Peter (Urie), who convinces his best friend, Nick (Chambers), to join him and his family for the holidays and pretend to be his boyfriend.
Like the growing number of original festive-themed movies on channels like Hallmark and Lifetime, the film is full of holiday cheer while love is lost but eventually found before the end. But what separates this one, and recent entries like Happiest Season on Hulu, is how “queer positive it is,” Urie says. “It is a movie without homophobia, without shame, and nobody comes out.”
“As much as I know it was important for that kind of representation,” the actor continues, “I think now we are at a place where it is also very important to show the world the way it is for many people and the way it should be, which is [a movie] with a family who loves their queer relatives without any judgment and a story that is about unconditional familial love. And then also to see what it’s like when gay people have problems that straight people have.”
Additionally, this movie explores gay male friendships not often portrayed onscreen. “You see how it is when two queer friends just are, you know, together and there doesn’t have to be this messy situation,” says Chambers, who is making his feature film debut. “There are so many forms of representation in this film and I just hope people take away hope, positivity, understanding -- and just that we can all be in this world together.”
While Nick, Peter, and the introduction of Macfarlane as a handsome trainer named James that Nick’s mother brings into the fold, drive the film’s love story, the supporting cast, including Kathy Najimy, Jennifer Coolidge and Schitt’s Creek star Jennifer Robertson, help bring the many laughs -- both on and off camera.
“We laughed a lot on set,” Urie says of being “surrounded by people like Kathy, Jennifer, and Jen, who is a truly hilarious person.”
“I had a hard time keeping it together,” Coolidge says, revealing she had trouble keeping a straight face when it came to her first scene with the entire cast. “It was hard to not laugh when we were doing it... When I come into the house, [they] are having that get-together. And, like, I don’t know, it was hard.”
“Jennifer is so incredibly funny. She just walks in a room and she’s hilarious. She doesn’t have to do anything, and she has that twinkle in her eye that just is so engaging,” Robertson adds.
For Coolidge, this surprisingly marks her first Christmas movie. “And then I really liked that it was a Christmas movie that was about gay men, but it didn’t comment about gay men. It just sort of told the story,” she says, adding that she was excited to work with Urie again after the two appeared in Swan Song together. “He’s an incredible actor. He comes in for a short amount of time and was such a scene stealer.”
Coolidge wasn’t the only person who had praise for Urie. “Michael is so good. He roots the film in such a way,” Robertson says of her onscreen brother, adding she hopes when people “watch us as a family [that] it gets everyone in the Christmas spirit... I hope everybody brings it into the fold of holiday classics.”
And she’s not the only one. Urie’s dream is that this film not only joins the holiday LGBTQ canon of films, but everyone’s holiday movie rotation every year. “And is a movie people go back to in the same way that they go back to Four Christmases or Love Actually or, for me, Muppet Christmas Carol,” he says. “I hope that Single All the Way becomes one of them.”
Single All the Way is now streaming on Netflix.