Philemon Chambers as Nick and Michael Urie as Peter in Single All the Way

Philippe Bosse/Netflix

Michael Urie as Peter and Jennifer Coolidge as Aunt Sandy in Single All the Way

Philippe Bosse/Netflix

Chad Hodge, writer and executive producer of Single All the Way

Fill 1
Fill 1
December 22, 2021
In The Mix

His Xmas Dream Onscreen

Not content with straight holiday movies given an LGBTQ twist, a writer-producer brings his own film to life, with "a story that felt unique to being gay."

Christine Champagne

Chad Hodge has always loved Christmas, even though his passion for the holiday got him into trouble once. "My mother is Jewish and my father is Catholic, and growing up, we always celebrated all the Jewish holidays but also the Christian holidays," he relates. "In third grade, in Sunday school at the temple, we were told to draw a picture of our favorite holiday. I drew a Christmas tree and got sent to the principal. I was mortified."

Years later, the writer-producer behind series including Runaway, The Playboy Club and Good Behavior was approached by Netflix to write a gay Christmas romcom. He immediately said yes. "I love romcoms and I love Christmas," he says. "I am also gay, and I've been out since I was seventeen."

Single All the Way — which Hodge wrote and executive-produced — finds Peter (Michael Urie of Ugly Betty and Younger) heading home for Christmas with best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) in tow. Nick reluctantly agrees to pretend he and Peter have fallen in love so Peter's family will stop hounding him about being single.

But before they can begin the charade, Peter's mom, Carol (Kathy Najimy), sets her son up on a blind date with her personal trainer, James (Luke Macfarlane, the star of several Hallmark Christmas movies). Michael Mayer (a Tony winner for directing Spring Awakening), directed the film, which premiered December 2.

"I've seen efforts to make a gay Christmas movie or a gay romcom, and it just feels like a straight story where they made the girl a guy, and then it was two guys instead," Hodge points out. "I wanted to tell a story that felt unique to being gay and to our world. Our goal was to cast all openly gay or queer actors in the three lead roles, and we succeeded."

While Hodge doesn't necessarily set out to tell an LGBTQ story in every project, representation is important to him. "On my slate of things in development, at least 30 to 40 percent has an LGBTQ focus, and if it doesn't, I try to bring LGBTQ elements to it," he says, citing a recent example.

"Good Behavior was not an LGBTQ show, but in season two, I did an entire episode where [Letty, Michelle Dockery's character] goes undercover as a drag queen, and we had Ginger Minj and Sharon Needles and all the drag queens. We did a huge drag show, and it was awesome.

"It's not difficult to work an LGBTQ character or theme into something that isn't at its core an LGBTQ story," he says. "Everyone knows someone who's gay. We're everywhere."

This story originally appeared in Issue #12, 2021, of emmy magazine.

More articles celebrating Pride Month.

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