Netflix has just made history with the release of their first ever Christmas film centring on a gay romance.
Single All The Way, which premiered 2 December on the streamer, follows Peter (Michael Urie) as he persuades his best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) to pose as his boyfriend on a trip home for the holidays to avoid his family’s judgement about his perpetual single status.
Peter’s mother (Kathy Najimy), however, sets him up on a blind date with her spinning instructor (Luke Macfarlane) and their plan goes… awry.
Directed by Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer, Single All The Way also stars Jennifer Coolidge as Aunt Sandy, Jennifer Robertson as Lisa and Barry Bostwick as Peter’s father.
Ahead of the film’s release, we spoke with Urie and Chambers about the historic film and how it deviates from storylines seen in other LGBTQ+ productions.
“The fact that Chad [Hodge] wrote such a great story, the development of the characters and that there was just no homophobia in it,” Chambers says of why he wanted to join Single All The Way, which marks his major feature-length debut.
“Honestly, that reeled me in and then, also, from the standpoint of being a Black queer man portraying a Black queer character, having that representation and it being a positive one instead of being something negative, meant the world to me.”
Urie, best known for his role as Marc St. James on Ugly Betty, “couldn’t be more prouder” of how Single All The Way depicts gay men and their families.
“I’ve been in lots of gay things and been in some smaller gay movies or plays where homophobia, shame and coming out was not a central part,” he tells us.
“But in the mainstream it is really rare, if at all, that you see a movie – and you don’t get more mainstream than Netflix – where the gay protagonist’s problems don’t have to do with the fact that they are gay.
“The problems that we face in this movie are the same problems that straight people face in their Christmas rom-coms. That is exciting and refreshing, and in a lot of ways, it opens up the floodgates for the romance and the comedy.”
Urie also reflects on his reunion with Macfarlane, his former classmate at Julliard. The actor received acclaim as Scotty Wandell on Brothers & Sisters and has since become a “Christmas movie staple” thanks to his work with Hallmark.
“It’s like kissing my brother a little bit because we went to drama school together,” he admits. “But also, I loved being on set after all these years. We kept in touch but we haven’t seen each other a lot. I certainly didn’t see him in the pandemic.
“We’ve never worked together professionally, being together on set, learning the ropes of a Christmas movie from him, but also reminiscing and really taking pride in this because he’s out, I’m out, Philemon’s out, we have a queer writer and director. Doing that is really special and I got to share that with an old friend, it meant a lot.”
Although Single All The Way has been out for, well, minutes, the romantic comedy has already received praise from viewers and critics for the cast’s performances, particularly for Coolidge’s hilarious work as theatre director Aunt Sandy.
According to Urie, the role was specifically written for the Legally Blonde icon.
“The Lady Coolidge. The thing about Jennifer Coolidge is you think you know what you’re going to get, and she does always deliver, but it’s always something else,” he says. “Even reading the script over and over again, knowing it was going to be her.
“Chad wrote in the script ‘Enter Aunt Sandy’ and then in parenthesis ‘think Jennifer Coolidge’ so it’s always been for her. You think about how she might do it, and you imagine her in other movies, but she still surprises. Every time it surprises me!
“And even watching the scenes I wasn’t in when watching the movie, she doesn’t do it how I thought she was going to do it. It’s better than I imagined, and it’s brilliant.”
Single All The Way is now available to stream worldwide on Netflix.