Earlier this year, Dolly Parton’s Netflix anthology series Heartstrings was nominated for an Emmy and a GLAAD Award. Now she’s got a Christmas movie in the works costarring two other LGBTQ+ icons — Jenifer Lewis and Christine Baranski. And another longtime ally, Debbie Allen is directing it.
Christmas on the Square, set for release November 22, stars Parton as a literal angel who changes the heart and mind of Baranski’s greedy Regina. Upon her father’s death, Regina returns to her hometown, where she plans to evict the townsfolk and sell the land to a developer set on building a mall, according to The Hollywood Reporter. With sage advice from Parton’s angel, running into an old flame, and listening to the stories of the people who still live in her town (in an Ebenezer Scrooge turn of events) Regina begins to change her wicked ways.
Meanwhile, Lewis (Black-ish) plays Margeline, the owner of a beauty shop who is a friend of sorts to Regina. The movie also stars Treat Williams as the owner of the town’s general store; Arrow’s Josh Segarra as the local pastor who pushes back against Regina’s greed; Jeanine Mason as an angel in training; and Heartstrings’ Mary Lane Haskell as Jenna, the pastor’s wife.
Holiday movies with LGBTQ+ stories have proliferated over the past few years with Netflix’s Let it Snow, Freeform’s The Thing About Harry, Lifetime’s upcoming The Christmas Setup, Hallmark's The Christmas House, and Happiest Season, the Clea DuVall helmed, Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis starrer that is the first LGBTQ+ holiday rom-com to be released by a major studio (Sony). There’s no word if Christmas on the Square will feature LGBTQ+ characters; at least there don’t seem to be any in the main cast, but a movie with LGBTQ+ allies including Parton, Lewis, Baranski, and Allen is sure to have queer appeal.