'Happiest Season': Meet Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Daniel Levy and rest of the cast of LGBTQ holiday rom-com
'It's a heartwarming, slightly stressful and manic Christmas movie,' Stewart said about the holiday movie
“Holiday movies become part of your life in a way that other movies don’t,” said Clea DuVall, co-writer and director of 'Happiest Season', about why she picked a holiday rom-com as her second feature film as director. “They become traditions, they become something you look forward to. A holiday movie will take you to a very specific time and place. There’s no other cinematic experience like it.” As part of the LGBTQ community, DuVall sought to tell a more inclusive story with 'Happiest Season', which is also the first major studio holiday movie revolving around an LGBTQ couple. “I love holiday movies, but I’ve never seen my own experience represented in one,” she said about how this rom-com is unlike any other film you may have seen. “Most romantic comedy holiday movies tend to revolve around a heterosexual couple, and if there are LGBTQ characters, they’re in the background. 'Happiest Season' felt like a way to tell a universal story from a different perspective,” she said about the film's plotline.
For Kristen Stewart, who takes the starring role opposite Mackenzie Davis, 'Happiest Season' fits squarely into that cinematic tradition. “It's a heartwarming, slightly stressful and manic Christmas movie – which are definitely my favorite ones because that is what Christmas actually feels like,” she laughs. “I do love Christmas – it's just that it can be a complicated time.” She added that, “It was important to us to make a movie that was not only grounded in reality and the intense drama behind certain family dynamics, but one that is also light and fun and relatable. Not every story told about same-sex couples needs to be so dark and intense.” Meet the cast of this much anticipated romantic holiday romantic comedy on Hulu.
Kristen Stewart is Abby
Abby is one half of the couple desperately trying to keep the secret. “Abby is ready to propose to Harper, but little does she know that Harper’s parents are pretty conservative – they’re nice, but quite traditional, and don’t know that Harper is gay. Abby is trying to open up and be honest with the people dearest to Harper, which is hard to do at Christmastime,” said Stewart about her character. Abby is aghast that Harper is hiding her sexuality and this also makes her less sure of her rock-solid relationship. Stewart is best known for playing the lead Bella Swan in the 'The Twilight Saga' franchise. But she was first noticed at the young age of 12 as the daughter of Jodie Foster's character in David Fincher's thriller 'Panic Room'. She also starred in 'Zathura: A Space Adventure' and 'Into the Wild'. After her 'Snow White and the Huntsman' debacle, Stewart went indie. In 2015, she garnered critical acclaim for her performance in Olivier Assayas' drama film 'Clouds of Sils Maria', which won her the César Award for Best Supporting Actress. She returned to mainstream Hollywood with 'Charlie's Angels' and most recently, 'Underwater'.
Mackenzie Davis is Harper
Mackenzie Davis plays Harper, who is scared of coming out to her family but also wants their true acceptance. “Abby and Harper are an ideal, amazing, totally connected, intense relationship,” Davis explained about her character. “I think that makes it so much more shocking when the secret of her havingnot come out to her parents comes up on the drive,” she said about the moment she reveals how she has been lying to her family to Abby. “Harper really struggles with being her authentic self,” Davis continues, “whether that’sbeing out in front of her family or being a distinct individual within her family. There’s such an emphasis on what’s the best look for the family, and in coming home and beinga full-fledged individual woman who has a life outside of this home, it’s hard for her –she has to shutter a lot of herself in order to function within the family." Davis's breakthrough performance came in 2016, when she starred as Yorkie in 'San Junipero', an episode of the anthology series 'Black Mirror'. Soon after, in June 2016, Davis bagged the role of Mariette in 'Blade Runner 2049'. In 2019, she joined the cast of 'Terminator: Dark Fate', in which she played an augmented super-soldier from the future who is sent back in time to protect Dani Ramos. She stars in the upcoming HBO Max miniseries 'Station Eleven'. In 2020, she has also starred in 'The Turning', and 'Irresistible', a film by Jon Stewart.
Daniel Levy is John
Daniel Levy plays Abby's gay best friend, John, who helps her pick the ring and the person Abby turns to for advice about pretending to be Harper's "straight, orphan" friend. Levy is best known for playing David Rose on 'Schitt's Creek', which he co-created and co-starred with his father. For producing, writing, directing, and acting in the final season of 'Schitt's Creek', Levy became the first person to win a Primetime Emmy Award in all four major disciplines in a single year.
Mary Steenburgen is Tipper Caldwell
Harper's mother is Tipper Caldwell played by Mary Steenburgen. According to Clea DuVall, the director Tipper is a "very put-together, verymannered woman whose full-time job is keeping her family on the track of being a very specific kind of family." DuVall notes that Tipper is then "confronted with the consequences ofher demands for this perfection, not only with her daughters but also with herself.” Steenburgen speaking about Tipper said that since she is deeply ambitious, she channels these ambitions through her husband, Ted, who is running for mayor. Steenburgen is known for her Oscar winning work in 'Melvin and Howard' in addition to starring in 'What’s Eating Gilbert Grape' and other iconic pop culture television shows like 'Justified', 'Orangeis the New Black', and HBO’s 'Togetherness' and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'. Steenburgen currently stars on NBC’s TV musical show 'Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist'.
Victor Garber is Ted Caldwell
Harper’s father, the charismatic aspiring politician Ted Caldwell is played by Victor Garber. Garber said that though Harper is afraid to come out Ted and Tipper, her parents are simply clueless, not hateful. "The Caldwells aren’t bigoted or unaccepting; it’s more about being caught up in wanting your children to be who you thought they were as children," said Garber. "Ted’s loving; he’s just a myopic father – he doesn’t see all the things that are going on." With six Emmy and four Tony nominations to his credit, Garber has starred in 'Titanic' and in BenAffleck’s film 'Argo'. He is also portrayed San Francisco Mayor George Moscone in Gus Van Sant’s film 'Milk'.
Alison Brie is Sloane
Alison Brie plays Sloane, the Caldwell's other daughter. She is an type-A, uptight mother of two, who used to be a lawyer but changed her profession to defy her parents. So she too is a product of her family's expectations of her. "You could say Sloane is a little bit tightly wound," said Brie about her character. "She used to be a high-powered attorney and now she makes a version of high-end gift baskets – she calls them ‘vessels’ – that she’s very proud of, but this new occupation gets very little respect from the family. She’s highly competitive, and definitely competes with Harper for their father’s love." Brie is a two-time Golden Globe and five-time SAG Award-nominated actress. She starred most recently in Dave Franco’s directorial debut 'The Rental'. Earlier this year, Brie starred in Jeff Baena’s 'Horse Girl', which she co-wrote and produced. She will next star in Emerald Fennell’s 'Promising Young Woman' opposite Carey Mulligan, which will be released by Focus Features on December 25, 2020. She is best known for her work in 'Glow' and 'Mad Men'.
Mary Holland is Jane
The Caldwell's third daughter, Jane, is played by Mary Holland who is also the co-writer of the film's script. "I just loveJane so much," says Holland. "She sticks out a little bit. Her family adheres to certain traditions and roles that have been carved out for them, and Jane buys into none of that. From a very young age, she’s been her own person – she’s a great example of what self-love looks like." Holland, who is an actress, comedian, and writer, is currently starring in the Comedy Central series 'Robbie'. She can also be seen in a recurring role on Season 2 of the hit Amazon series 'Homecoming'. Her television credits include 'Veep', 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', 'BluntTalk' and 'Shrink'.
Aubrey Plaza is Riley
Riley, Harper’s (secret) ex-girlfriend, is played by Aubrey Plaza. Riley and Harper were seeing each other in high school while Harper was in the closet. Since Harper wasn't ready to come out the relationship ended badly. Plaza will next star in Lawrence Michael Levine’s 'Black Bear'. She is best known for starring in Edgar Wright's 'Scott Pilgrimvs. the World' and Judd Apatow’s 'Funny People'. Plaza is best known for portraying April Ludgate on the Emmy nominated and PeabodyAward winning comedy series 'Parks and Recreation'.
'Happiest Season' is available to stream on Hulu from November 25.