The myth of Santa Claus has been a favorite topic for filmmakers for as along as film itself has existed, with one of the earliest Edison silent shorts being a depiction of the character in action on Christmas Eve. Other features, like The Santa Clause and Rise of The Guardians, have also found success with traditional depictions of the character.
But that may be set to change, as Disney is reportedly working on an all new depiction of the jolly character that will see St. Nick become Nicole. And apparently, the studio is seeking Anna Kendrick to headline the new project.
The casting, as reported by Variety, is built around a hot screenplay from Marc Lawrence, previously best known for scripting the Sandra Bullock hit Miss Congeniality. The project is currently in fast-tracked pre-production under the working title Nicole, likely a play on some versions of the Santa Claus legend framing the character's proper name as either Nicholas or "Saint Nick" (based on conflations of the original mythic figure of "Sinterklauss" with a Turkish Christian martyr known as Saint Nicholas).
While the bulk of the film's plot is being kept under wraps, the known setup involves the retirement of the original Santa Claus: Originally set to be succeeded by his son, the would-be new Santa finds himself unable to undertake his maiden voyage of Christmas Eve toy deliveries. Kendrick would portray Santa's daughter, who takes over for her brother to accomplish the task -- which involves becoming (apparently) the first woman to take up the Santa Claus mantle.
Several films have been built around the idea of the Santa Claus role as a mantle to be passed on or taken up by another under various circumstances, including Tim Allen's Santa Clause trilogy and an Angela Lansbury vehicle titled Mrs. Claus. Left unsaid by early reports is whether or not Nicole involves Kendrick's character taking up the role as a one-time adventure or if the broader premise would conclude with her ascension to the role the first female Santa full time.
Lawrence is expected to direct the film himself, his first time in that role since the Hugh Grant feature The Rewrite several years ago. Susan Todd and Louie Provost will produce the film for Disney, which has not yet set a release date. Kendrick, who has been aggressively seeking a blockbuster franchise of her own, has also expressed interest in the potential feature adaptation of Marvel's Squirrel Girl comic book series.
Screen Rant will have more details for you on Nicole as they are made available.