A 2004 Christmas movie went viral this week after on Twitter it was highlighted that there are 2 versions of the movie itself: one that features an homosexual character and one that doesn’t. In “Too Cool For Christmas” Lindsay, the main character, has 2 dads; in “A Very Cool Christmas”, Linday’s parents are a heterosexual couple. While the actor Barclay Hope plays Lindsay’s dad in both version, Adam Harrington plays her other dad in the first version, and Ingrid Torrance plays her mom in the second version.
Other than this, the two version of the movie are basically identical, with identical lines delivered by actors and same camera shots used in both versions. Presumably “Too Cool For Christmas” was meant to be for the more tolerant Canadian audience, and the other one for the more conservative US audience at the time.
In UK both movies are available on Amazon (the “gay version” included in HereTV for 3.99/month but with a 7-days free trial; the “Straight version” included in Amazon Prime Video).
Buzzfeed requested a comment to the director, Sam Irvin. He said he was happy to see audiences talking about the movie 25 years later.
During the week, Twitter users tweeted side-by-syde videos of the two movies.
The director said that the two versions were not created for the 2 different audiencesin Canada and the US. The director said in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he worked closely with Here TV, an American television network for LGBTQ audiences, on original content and projects. According to Irvin, Here TV didnt have the funding to finance an entire TV movie in the same way a channel like Lifetime could because their subscriber base was still in its infancy. So they created two versions of the movie to help make the project financially feasible.
Some people have been critical of the fact that the two films mirror each other in every way except for the parents. However, Irvin said back in 2004, the entertainment landscape wasnt favorable to LGBTQ representation.
The two-for-one movie format didnt seem to catch on and wasnt a regular occurrence in Irvins career. However, Too Cool For Christmas/A Very Cool Christmas was deemed successful enough that he went on to direct one more similar project: Deadly Skies and Force of Impact, asteroid thrillers which aired on television in 2006.
Irvin said he loves that the movies have been rediscovered now in light of streaming and the internet, despite some of the negative comments.