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In Single All the Way, Philemon Chambers turns on the holiday cheer and turns off the LGBTQ stereotypes

The young Black actor says the true star of Netflix's first gay holiday rom-com is the way the story puts the focus on people connecting with family and just trying to find love.

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Chambers and Michael Urie in Single All the Way.
Netflix

This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

Single All the Way, billed as Netflix's first gay holiday romantic comedy, is the kind of movie that co-star Philemon Chambers wishes he could've seen when he was growing up as a young, Black gay man.

"There is no negative connotation -- you see people for people, and that's one of the things that I had wished growing up that I saw, because anytime you saw a queer character portrayed on TV there, there was always some sort of negative stereotype or it was on the down low," Chambers said in an interview for CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast  series. 

"I hope with our film some folks who might not ever ... meet a gay man could find empathy and learn from the film itself," he adds. "These are a lot of people's truths, and [the story is] depicted in such a positive way."

Written by Chad Hodge and directed by Michael Mayer (27 Dresses), Single All the Way, which airs Dec. 2, casts Chambers alongside LGBTQ actors Michael Urie and Luke Macfarlane, and veteran comic actors Kathy Najimy and Jennifer Coolidge. Chambers plays Nick, who pretends to be in a relationship with his best friend, Peter (Urie), who doesn't want to show up single, again, to his family's holiday get-together. But then Nick has to figure out what his true feelings are for his best friend when Peter's mom (Najimy) sets her son up on a blind date with her dashing trainer (Macfarlane). Coolidge stars as Peter's aunt. 

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Philemon Chambers

Cynthia Smalley

If that sounds like a familiar plot for a romantic comedy (with a feel-good ending), it is. And that's the whole point. Chambers says he's proud that Single All the Way just presents a story about families and people trying to find love. "The reason I feel this is such a groundbreaking project is not only because it's the first of Netflix's dive into the LGBTQ rom-com community, but that this project is so filled with joy." 

Chambers, who was inspired to be an actor after watching The Lion King as a kid and Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire, also talked with me about the positive changes he's seeing around diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. He tells me Harry and the Hendersons is one of his favorite movies -- "because Bigfoot, because I'm so down for Bigfoot."  He's also obsessed with meditation, which has become an antidote in part to life during the pandemic.

You can listen to my interview with Chambers in the podcast player at the top of this article. Or subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Patrick Holland or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.