Michael Urie stars in the Christmas movie "Single All the Way." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Michael Urie said he is proud to play a gay character in a Christmas romantic comedy, Single All the Way, which premiers Thursday on Netflix.
Urie stars as a man who falls for his platonic friend (Philemon Chambers) over the holidays.
"We're making a movie that is about gay people, and that isn't about coming out of the closet or a family that doesn't accept them," Urie told UPI in a Zoom interview. "This guy's problem is that he's single all the time and his family doesn't like it. That is a regular old rom-com problem."
Urie, 41, plays Peter, a social media marketing executive who visits his family for Christmas. Peter asks his friend, Nick (Chambers), to pretend to be his boyfriend so his family won't pester him about his love life.
In the tradition of When Harry Met Sally and Some Kind of Wonderful, Peter and Nick realize they actually do have romantic feelings for each other. Urie said he and Chambers met on Zoom and FaceTime before filming.
"When we finally worked together in Montreal, it was like we'd been friends for years," Urie said.
Complications arise when Peter's mother (Kathy Najimy) fixes him up with James (Luke Macfarlane), a personal trainer. Urie did know Macfarlane before, as classmates at Juilliard.
"Luke Macfarlane has been in lots of Christmas movies as a straight guy and came to ours to play gay, which he is," Urie said. "He taught me the Christmas movie ropes on the Single All the Way set."
For example, while filming in Montreal in April, when the weather still was cold, Urie said Macfarlane shared advice for filming a scene in which Peter puts a Christmas tree on top of a car.
"It's having fun, keeping it moving and being careful of sap," Urie said. "That's a big one because those trees are covered in sap."
Although James is the third point on Single All the Way's love triangle, he still has something to teach Peter. The holiday visit also makes Peter realize he's not really fulfilled by his job.
"You can do what you love," Urie said. "It is possible for your job to also be your passion. I think Peter had forgotten that."
Choosing love over work also is a popular theme in Christmas movies. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol teaches Ebeneezer Scrooge that friends and family are more important than money and business.
Modern Christmas movies like The Holiday and any number of Hallmark Channel movies feature workaholics learning the Christmas spirit. Peter isn't quite a Scrooge, but Urie said he fits the Christmas movie paradigm.
"I think he is starting to realize that work isn't going to make him happy," Urie said. "Being perpetually single is definitely not going to make him happy. Maybe a change is needed."
In real life, Urie has been with his partner, Ryan Spahn, since 2008. Urie said his real-life relationship has not become the subject of Urie family plotting and discussion.
"My family is great and loves me, but they don't really meddle the way that Peter's family does, and I don't think I would like it," Urie said. "Peter seems pretty patient with it."
Single All the Way lets Urie indulge in all the trappings of a Christmas movie. Those include a variety of sweaters and other winter attire.
"I had the cutest snow boots that I wore in almost every scene in that movie," Urie said. "By the way, I took them at the end of the movie. They're in my closet."
Urie said he did not get to keep a shamrock sweater he wears in the film. However, he did get to dance to Britney Spears' "My Only Wish (This Year)" with Madison Brydges and Alexandra Beaton, who play Peter's nieces.
"But for Mariah [Carey]'s 'All I Want For Christmas Is You,' I think [Spears' song] would be a big hit," Urie said. "Now that it's in Single All the Way and Britney is free, maybe we will. I'm really proud that she's going to get the royalties."