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Hallmark Sets First Holiday Movie Featuring Character With Autism

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Last year while Holly Robinson Peete was promoting her two Hallmark holiday films, she mentioned she wanted to do one featuring someone on the autism spectrum. Now, she has her chance.

Peete stars in and executive produces “The Christmas Bond” (working title), a new 2021 holiday movie for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries that also stars Lyriq Bent and Nik Sanchez, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film, which is set to begin production now, follows a single mother (played by Peete) and her teenage son with autism (played by Sanchez), who come to a crossroad during Christmas. In doing so, she must learn to let go so her son can flourish, but in the process she will find her “heart healing in unexpected ways,” the network said.

“I am making this movie for my son RJ, others with autism and their families,” said Peete. “I am grateful to Hallmark for bringing this story to screen with authenticity, respect and hope.”

As a parent to a son with autism, Peete has been a vocal advocate for such individuals for more than 20 years through her HollyRod Foundation. Sanchez not only plays a young man with autism, but also “prides himself in being awesomely autistic,” his reps said.

“Holly Robinson Peete is a tremendously talented actor and creative collaborator,” said Randy Pope, senior vice president, programming and development, Hallmark Channel. “We are excited and honored to help her bring this personal and beautiful story to life.”

This new holiday title is set to debut on Hallmark later this year as part of its “Miracles of Christmas” programming event. It is a Box Road Production with Orly Adelson, Peete, Allen Lewis and Denielle Jackson serving as executive producers. Charles Cooper is producer, while Kevin Fair directs from a script by Marcy Holland and story by Camille Thomasson.

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