hollywood history

Co-stars and real-life husbands Ben Lewis and Blake Lee push for more LGBTQ representation in film

Husbands that get cast together, make history together. At least, that’s the story behind Ben Lewis and Blake Lee, the real-life husbands who were cast as the leads in last year’s The Christmas Setup, the first LGBTQ-themed Christmas film ever broadcast by TV network, Lifetime.

The critically-acclaimed film, which was nominated for the 2021 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Movie, tells the story of a career-hungry New York City lawyer (Lewis) who returns to his hometown with his best friend (Ellen Wong) to spend Christmas with his mother, (played by queer icon Fran Drescher), and runs into an old crush (Lee) along the way. We won’t spoil the ending for you, but it will give you all the feels.

The significance of the film was not lost on the married duo, who have both snagged a spot on our Pride 50 for their historic roles.

“This is just a really powerful example that gay people aren’t just family-friendly, they are your family,” Lewis shared in a conversation with GMA. “They’re in every family, and to see the gay community represented in this type of movie is really significant.”

 It was the first time the pair had ever acted together, after being together for 10 years. They’d met in 2010 at the premiere of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Now, with conversations of a Christmas Setup sequel brewing, both Lewis and Lee are pushing for more representation in the next movie. 

In speaking of a potential sequel, Lee shared with Queerty, “We love seeing queer stories that don’t revolve around trauma, its really refreshing, but we wont do the [sequel] unless there is more representation. We need to have a trans actor in the next movie, we need to have a queer person of color… It’s very important because we are aware we are two white, cisgendered, privileged gay men.”

Added Lewis: “White, cisgendered gay men are always the first one invited to the party. It’s our responsibility or at least our desire to go, ‘Okay, next time we have a party, we gotta make sure we diversify the guest list.’”

This isn’t the first time Lewis has pushed for more representation in the industry. In 2019, Lewis blasted the Avengers franchise for not having more LGBTQ representation. He was also integral in his Arrow character’s coming out being written into the show.

After making history with their co-starring roles on the Lifetime movie–which was anything but a lump of coal–it’s nice to see Lewis and Lee using their platform to not only acknowledge their privileges, but call for greater LGBTQ diversity in entertainment. For this, it’s an honor to include them on our Pride 50. Now, how many days until Christmas? We are ready to see this dashing, adorable couple in The Christmas Setup 2!

Scroll down for pics from Ben and Blake’s Instagram pages…

Pride50Welcome to Queerty’s Pride50. We’re celebrating the members from our community who are responsible for some of the most inspiring and extraordinary moments for LGBTQ people over the last year. See all the honorees