As far as Christmas movies are concerned, Lifetime is certainly up there with some of the greats – and by greats, we mean the unbearably cheesy, but impossible to look away type. While traditionally, their films follow a fairly consistent formula, the latest addition to their Christmas film roster, Christmas Ever After, is making history – with lead actress, and Tony award winner, Ali Stroker at the helm.
Stroker is no stranger to breaking barriers, becoming the first performer in a wheelchair to win a Tony award last year for her role in Broadway's revival of Oklahoma! Now, the actress is making history once again, being cast as the first disabled lead star in the network's history.
Christmas Ever After follows the tale of romance writer Izzi Simmons (Stroker) who travels to a small-town family lodge for Christmas to help beat her writers block. In an uncanny turn of events, the new manager of her B&B happens to eerily resemble the prince charming in her novels. What follows is the festive love story we are all desperately in need of this year, filled with just the right amount of Christmas cheer to help make 2020 that touch more tolerable.
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Speaking to publication IndieWire, Stroker shared her excitement in her new films ability to champion representation in the space of disabled, romantic heroines.
“I was so thrilled to see disability wasn’t necessarily a part of the story... I believe that is progress. We don’t always need to talk about addressing a disability in a narrative. There can be a love story with somebody with a disability…that maybe doesn’t need to be explained.”
Director Pat Kiely shared that Stroker was instrumental in ensuring that the film represented the lived experiences of young disabled women – from dating to driving and even the simplest of moments like sharing a romantic stroll with your significant other.
“She shared a lot of personal things in her own life. There’s a real romantic scene where Daniel [di Tomasso] takes her hand and pulls her up this ramp. She [Stroker] said her and her fiance, when they have romantic strolls together….that’s how they do that.”