It’s a Mean Girls fan’s dream come true: Jonathan Bennett (AKA the lovable Aaron Samuels) told us what his ideal role in a Christmas movie with Lindsay Lohan would look like.
While promoting The Holiday Sitter — which sees him continue to make Hallmark Channel holiday-movie history as part of a leading gay couple on screen — Jonathan Bennett took the time to chat with us about the forthcoming film – when he teased that he’d love to do a holiday film with his Mean Girls co-star, Lindsay Lohan.
“Seeing Lindsay come back to filmmaking – especially doing what she does best, which is romantic comedies, is so heartwarming and exciting,” Bennett told us through a smile. “And the fact that she’s not only doing that, but a Christmas movie, makes it even more fun and special in my heart because that’s the world that I have been playing in and living in for the past few years. And so I hope one day we get to do a Christmas movie together.”
I think I would definitely want to play either brother and sister or best friends because the audiences have seen us fall in love together in Mean Girls.
What would a Christmas movie starring Jonathan Bennett and Lindsay Lohan be about?
Since they’ve already played each other’s romantic interest in Mean Girls, Bennett hopes that, if they did a holiday movie together, their dynamic could take on a new form.
“I think I would definitely want to play either brother and sister or best friends, because the audiences have seen us fall in love together in Mean Girls,” he explains. “But I think it’d be fun to do something completely different with her and do it around Christmas. Maybe we’d play some type of best friend, sibling rivalry thing.”
A movie like this would be no surprise to Bennett, who has settled into the Christmas movie realm for a while now because the holidays are so important to him.
“The holidays mean so much to people for so many different reasons,” he continues. “A lot of it, I think, is based in tradition. There’s something about our brain that loves doing the same things like decorating a tree, decorating the house, exchanging gifts every single year. That gives us a sense of purpose. And so I think the holidays, for me, are that sense of tradition and nostalgia that feels comfortable.”
For LGBTQ2S+ people, however, the holidays can be quite difficult, especially for those with families that don’t support them. That’s why a movie like The Holiday Sitter is so revolutionary.
Showing queer love on screen during Christmas, it’s letting all the queer people feel like they have a seat at the holiday table, too.
“The holidays, for queer people, is something that no one will really understand unless you’re a queer person,” Bennett explains. “For me, I was lucky enough to have a family that supported me, but I know that’s not the case for a lot of queer people. The holidays can be a sticky situation because everyone’s going home to their families and having these traditions and moments. There’s a lot of queer people that don’t have families to go back to or don’t have their places they grew up that they can go home to. So that’s why I think representation and chosen family are so important because what I’ve learnt, for me, is that it’s not just about your family that you’re born with; it’s about your chosen family.”
‘The Holiday Sitter’ is a Hallmark Christmas movie with a leading gay couple
Bennett thinks that The Holiday Sitter will be revolutionary for LGBTQ2S+ viewers, as it will give them the chance to see themselves on screen in a new way.
“For the holidays, to be able to see a movie where there’s representation of queer people on screen, it makes you feel like Christmas is for you as well,” Bennet says earnestly. “Because a lot of times when we watch these movies – at the holidays when we watch movies, if we don’t see ourselves in them, it almost feels like the holidays aren’t for us. But by doing movies like The Holiday Sitter and showing queer love on screen during Christmas, it’s letting all the queer people feel like they have a seat at the holiday table, too.”
‘The Holiday Sitter’ is backed by an LGBTQ2S+ creative team
Not only does Bennett star in The Holiday Sitter, but he executive produced it and wrote the story for it as well.
We have a whole queer creative team, from our director to our producers to our writer to our actors.
“When I took The Holiday Sitter to Hallmark Channel and said, ‘I want to make a movie, and my vision for it is the movie Uncle Buck, which was my favourite movie growing up, but gay.’ And that was like my blueprint for how I want to tell the story. And Hallmark immediately said, ‘Yes, we love that idea. Let’s do it.’ So just the support of Hallmark Channel from the get-go has been unwavering. What I love is how delicate they’ve been with making sure we tell the story correctly.”
Hallmark has stood behind Bennett’s vision, and together, they built a whole queer creative team.
“We have a whole queer creative team, from our director to our producers to our writer to our actors. Everyone’s queer on the team, so it’s really cool having all those different sides of the community weighing in and making decisions creatively on every aspect of the film. So that was a really exciting thing to be involved with because you got to sit there and listen to everyone’s side of the story and then we used all that information to make the best decision for what should appear on camera. And I think that really elevates our movie above all the others.”
What can viewers expect from The Holiday Sitter?
Bennett tells us that The Holiday Sitter “is a heartwarming, hilarious story filled with so much love and so much humour.”
That’s like a dream come true as an actor, to get to do physical comedy and destroy an entire Christmas tree.
“It’s about my character, Jason, who comes back to his hometown for the holidays because he has to babysit his niece and nephew because his sister and her husband are adopting a new baby and the mother goes into labour. So they have to, right before Christmas, they have to rush home go pick up the new baby and welcome the baby into the family and they have no one to watch the kids.”
“So they call on Sam,” he continues, “who’s the eternal bachelor living in New York, living his best life, just having fun and working, to come home and babysit and basically put on Christmas for his niece and nephew. It’s a classic fish out of water story that leaves so much room for laughs. And what’s so fun is that he falls in love with the hot, hunky neighbour next door who happens to be the carpenter building the addition onto the house. So you have two things that Sam’s never experienced: building and children, and you throw them into this world that is completely not his and hilarity ensues.”
Filming was packed with funny moments, especially when it came to the physical comedy.
“Any time I can throw myself around on camera makes me happy,” Bennett says through a laugh. “I got to fall into a 15-foot Christmas tree and dive into it and bring it the whole thing completely decorated. I got to pull and tip it over and fall on the ground with. That’s like a dream come true as an actor, to get to do physical comedy and destroy an entire Christmas tree. And what was so funny is that when I fell, one of the ribbons got caught around the back of my head and so when they went to pull up the tree and pull me up, my head was caught in the ribbon and it kind of pulled me up with the tree. When they yelled cut, we all started cracking up because that was what you call a happy accident in improv where we didn’t plan it, but when it happened – it was hilarious. And those are the best takes.”
Aside from the premiere of The Holiday Sitter, Bennett is looking forward to the holidays with his loved ones.
“I’m excited for Christmas with my husband, Jaymes, and I think we’re going to, for the first time, get to sit at home for two days. With our schedules and shooting and everything that’s been going on, we haven’t had time to just sit. So I think we have two full days where we get to just sit and chill at the house with the dog. And then on Christmas Day, we’re on a flight to New York City because I host Times Square, New Year’s Eve. I host the ball drop. We’ll be headed to Times Square to start preparations for New Year’s Eve, so that’s always exciting.”
The Holiday Sitter premieres Sunday, December 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on W Network. Viewers can also stream all 2022 premieres live and on demand on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, fuboTV, Rogers Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream.
Starring Jonathan Bennett (The Christmas House, Mean Girls), George Krissa (Road Trip Romance) and Chelsea Hobbs (Poisoned in Paradise: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery).
For a full list of Countdown to Christmas premieres, please visit the W Network.
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