Hallmark has released its first Christmas movie with an LGBTQ storyline along with 40 new films this holiday season.
The channel is promising is its “most-diverse” lineup yet in 2020.
“Mean Girls” actor Jonathan Bennett stars in “The Christmas House,” which is Hallmark’s first holiday film centered around a gay couple. The movie aired on Nov. 22.
“My agent called and said, ‘Hey, you’re doing a new movie for Hallmark. I got this offer.’ I said, ‘Oh, great.’ Like all the other offers from Hallmark I’m like, ‘Awesome. Who’s my girl? Like, is it gonna be, is it Lacey (Chabert)? Is it Danica (McKellar)? Who is it?’ And they’re like, they go, ‘Jake.’ And my jaw hit the ground,” Bennett said. “I was so excited, you know, because I’ve been part of the Hallmark family for a long time but with this movie, it is the first time when I feel like I get to play a character that’s more authentically me, to who I am.”
The movie also includes notable actors from popular television shows such as like Robert Buckley (“One Tree Hill”), Ana Ayora (“In the Dark”) and Sharon Lawrence (“NYPD Blue”).
This fall, Hallmark announced their extensive lineup of 40 new films.
The line up includes 23 holiday-inspired movies and 17 from Hallmark’s mysteries line. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the channel has managed to film brand new movies to debut.
The new lineup is a part of Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas” program, which started a month ago on Oct. 23.
Many fans have been looking forward to LGBT+ characters for years in Hallmark movies for years.
“What I think Hallmark Channel has done so well is they really have taken a step back and looked at representation and what that means to their viewers, what that means to their employees, what that means to the world,” Bennett said. “And they really put their money where their mouth is and are are stepping up and making sure that that holiday table is bigger than it’s ever been before and making sure that the holiday table has a seat for everyone.”
“Our holiday table is bigger and more welcoming than ever,” Michelle Vicary, Hallmark Channel’s executive vice president of programming, said in a statement. “This year’s movies reflect our most diverse representation of talent, narratives, and families.”