This week brings the release of two very different Christmas movies with Santa Claus as the main character, although they do both star actors who played a series of iconic roles throughout the 1980s. Mel Gibson’s Fatman is a dark and R-rated spin on the holiday genre, while Kurt Russell‘s The Christmas Chronicles 2 is an altogether more whimsical and heartwarming tale.
In fact, the aforementioned sequel is guaranteed to be one of the most popular titles on Netflix throughout the festive season, and has already gone down a storm with subscribers. Not only is it the follow-up to a movie that brought in 20 million streams in the first week it was available two years ago, but co-writer and director Chris Columbus knows a thing or two about crafting Christmas classics after scripting Gremlins and helming Home Alone.
In a recent interview, though, the filmmaker dropped the bombshell that his leading man wants Santa Claus to be the final role of his career before he calls it quits, and also detailed the great lengths that the 69 year-old went to in order to get into character and embody the iconic figure, saying:
“Kurt said to me, ‘I want to walk into the sunset, this being the last role I play’. He wants to continue doing it. Deep down into his soul, he’s committed to this role. That means eight weeks growing the beard with little additional flourishes, working with the script every night before he shoots with me. It’s an intense commitment. And he takes it very seriously. When a guy plays Santa Claus, most of the time it’s not taken seriously. When Kurt Russell plays Santa Claus, he writes 170 pages about the guy’s backstory and mythology. That is an actor’s commitment. He is committed to this role in a way that you would expect De Niro to be committed to Jake LaMotta. When you see that kind of passion in an actor, to play a role that some people don’t take seriously, you realize ‘I want to go there’.”
Netflix better keep churning out Christmas Chronicles sequels for a while, then, because Kurt Russell‘s fans would hate to see him step away from the big screen anytime soon. After all, he’s built up a filmography that’s deftly balanced cult classics like The Thing, Escape From New York and Tango & Cash alongside the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy and Fast and Furious franchises over a career that’s spanned almost 60 years, and with any luck, he’s still got a whole lot more to give before he calls it quits.