After playing a Sentient Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and an intelligence operative in The Fate of the Furious, Kurt Russell will take on a very different role for a Netflix Christmas film, playing none other than Santa Claus. Whether live-action, animated, aimed at children, or leaning more towards action or horror, Christmas-themed movies are a yearly must through December (or even starting in the last weeks of November), and streaming services such as Netflix seize this opportunity to bring more original content.
Netflix has established itself as the main streaming service worldwide thanks to its wide catalogue of films and series as well as its original content that covers from documentaries to science fiction and even some Christmas films. Netflix shows no signs of stopping the production of original content, and one of their projects for next year’s Christmas season is a live-action film with Russell as Santa Claus.
According to THR, starring alongside Russell in the untitled Netflix Christmas film are Judah Lewis (from Netflix’s The Babysitter) and Darby Camp (Big Little Lies), with Chris Columbus attached as producer. Clay Kaytis (co-director of The Angry Birds Movie) is on board to direct the film which will also mix in CG elements. In addition to working on Angry Birds, Kaytis has served as animator in a number of films, such as Chicken Little, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, and Frozen.
The story will follow two siblings, played by Lewis and Camp, who try to prove that Santa Claus is real – and so they want to catch him on camera. Things don’t go quite as planned and they accidentally cause Santa’s sleigh to crash in Chicago, prompting them to find a way to get Christmas back on track before it’s all ruined. Matt Lieberman is in charge of writing the script, which according to THR was once titled 12/24. Lieberman also penned the stop-motion animated version of The Addams Family that is currently in production. The film will reportedly go into production in January in order to be released during the holiday season in 2018.
This project will join Netflix’s short-list of original Christmas films, which includes titles such as A Christmas Prince, Christmas Inheritance, El Camino Christmas, and most notably the musical comedy A Very Murray Christmas. While Russell previously worked in a Christmas-themed TV movie titled Christmas Miracle in Caufield, U.S.A back in 1977, this will be the first time he plays Santa Claus.
From what is known so far, the film will be aimed more towards a younger audience, with comedic hints typical of these types of stories. What will be especially interesting to see – aside from Russell’s role – is how Kaytis’ animation background will play in this film, which could make it stand-out from other Christmas-themed films released in the last couple of years.