Mean Girls alum Jonathan Bennett is set to star in the Hallmark Channel's first-ever LGBTQ-led Christmas film, The Holiday Sitter, which premieres Sunday, December 11. After previously appearing in The Christmas House movies for Hallmark, the actor is now leading his very own project. In an interview with Out, Bennett reflected on the fact that he's the face of gay holiday movies as of 2022.
"Am I the gay King of Christmas?" Bennett muses. "It feels like such an honor to kind of forge this movement in the holiday movie space. And the reason I'm doing it is because I think it's so important that everyone knows that Christmas is for everybody, you know?"
Unlike other networks who have closed the door on including LGBTQ+ characters in holiday movies as of late, the Hallmark Channel is certainly committed to diversity. "The Hallmark Channel is for everyone, The Holiday Sitter is for everybody," Bennett declares. "So to be a part of this movement that is making sure that the people watching these amazing Christmas movies feel like they're represented on screen... it is so important."
In the movie, Bennett plays Sam, a gay man who babysits his niece and nephew during the holidays and asks for help from a handsome neighbor, Jason, played by George Krissa. The cast of The Holiday Sitter also features actors such as Matthew James Dowden, Chelsea Hobbs, Nathan Parrott, Everett Andres, Mila Morgan, Amy Goodmurphy, Todd Matthews, and Ross Linton, among others.
Recently, Candace Cameron Bure made headlines for saying that the Christmas movies she's making at the Good American Family network won't include LGBTQ+ characters. But Bennett is concerned on creating spaces where queer talent and viewers feel welcomed, not invisible.
"I can't speak to what other networks are doing because I only can speak to what we are doing at Hallmark Channel," Bennett notes. "I can say that I'm proud to be part of a network like the Hallmark Channel that puts inclusivity at the forefront. Hallmark Channel has created a safe space for me as a queer filmmaker to tell stories, and there's no better place than that when you are a queer artist in the industry telling stories."
Read the full, expanded version of this interview in the January/February print issue of Out, on newsstands January 24. The Holiday Sitter premieres Sunday, December 11 on the Hallmark Channel.