|WHERE TO LOOK
The Man in the Red Suit has no shortage of representation online. If you’re just looking for a good time, there are several fun and game sites, including Northpole.com, Claus.com, and SantaClaus.net. “Of course, I am in no way affiliated with these sites,” claims St. Nick, “but, yeah, that disco dancing flash animation of me on Northpole.com is pretty funny.”
If you’re looking for historical perspective, check out St. Nicholas: Discovering the Truth about Santa Claus. It’s a religious site, but there’s plenty of information on the Man’s culture and history. For a more pop culture perspective, there’s NorthpoleSantaClaus.com. Here you’ll find tons of info on all the books and movies Santa Claus has appeared in. Of course, you’ll also find ways to buy them. “Good info here,” Claus concedes, “but what’s with all the commercialism? Santa and commercialism just don’t mix.”
If you want to keep track of the Man for the next few weeks, a Google news search for “Santa Claus” reveals a constant stream of news stories from across the world. Or, if you want to want to keep track in a more literal sense, NORAD tracks Santa Claus on his December 25th trek using a combination of radar, satellites, “Santa Cams” and fighter jets. “They’ve been doing that for a while,” says Claus. “Wouldn’t grant me air space unless I agreed to it. Frankly, it kind of creeps me out.”
Written by Denis Faye
Despite their lifetime naughty list memberships, Hollywood producers love Santa Claus. Why? Because if you combined the box office receipts for all Santa Claus movies ever made, you’d be talking crazy money – enough to buy every kid on the planet a toy.
But who the hell would want to do that?
In that century of filmmaking, Kris Kringle has been played by scores of actors, including John Malkovich, George Wendt, Paul Giamatti, George Wendt, Tim Allen, George Wendt, Jim Broadbent, George Wendt and George Wendt. Yet, oddly enough, he’s not once been consulted on the role – until now.
Santa recently took time off from preparations for his annual big flight to chat with Technically Speaking about how he’s portrayed in film and television. Surprisingly, he’s not as jolly about the whole thing as you’d think he’d be. He needs to lose a couple pounds. He gets it. Now, back off.
What does Hollywood get right?
Not much. I mean, I do look pretty good in red and, sure, I’ve put on a few pounds over the years, but constantly being portrayed as an overweight, old, bearded guy gets really grating.
But are you an overweight, old bearded guy?
Technically, yes, but this is Hollywood! Every other biopic I’ve ever seen features the protagonist in his prime for at least part of the movie. Lawrence of Arabia, The People vs. Larry Flint, Ed Wood...
Sure, but I’d hardly consider Elf or Fred Claus to be biopics...
Well, it’s my life up there on the screen, so as far I’m concerned, they’re biopics. Why can’t they cast someone hip and svelte to at least show my early years? What about an action hero? Seriously, my life is action-packed! You give me 24 hours and I can circumnavigate the planet on an airborne sled propelled by eight reindeer – and tiny ones at that! I’d like to see Gerard Butler pull that off.
You sort of already answered this, but what does Hollywood get wrong?
Where do I start? First off, there’s that whole Santa Clause debacle. Have you seen those movies? The Tim Allen ones? What are they, on number eight now?
I saw the first two, but –
It doesn’t matter. The Santa Claus name is not and never was passed down from idiot to idiot and what’s more, I’ve fallen off a lot of roofs in my day and I’m still going strong – because I’m a tough guy! Action hero, I tell ya!
So you’re immortal?
I’m not saying that. I’m just saying me and Tim Allen have nothing in common. Do you know how many Tool Time jokes I had to put up with around the workshop when that movie came out? Although it did work to my advantage when I threatened to fire the elves and replace them with Tool Time Girls. Their contract was up and they thought I was serious, so I was able to get the whole New Media royalty thing off the table. What do elves need the Internet for, anyway?
I dunno, but Tool Time Girls would be cool. I’m sure Pamela Anderson is available.
Don’t butter me up, kid. You’re still not getting a surfboard for Christmas. I saw what you did at Molly Malone’s that night last July. Olives are for eating, man.
How’d you know about that?
I’m Santa Claus. You are so naughty list.
Right, so, anyway, what are some of your favorite Santa movies and shows?
You know, I can’t get past those old Rankin and Bass TV specials. The Year Without Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman. We’ve got them all on DVD. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town showed a little of me when I was a young buck. I liked that. Only I didn’t have red hair.
And those guys sure nailed the Miser brothers. I remember when we invited Heat Miser and Snow Miser to our annual Boxing Day blow out back in ‘67. Wow. Not doing that again. The plumbing still doesn’t work right.
And I’m guessing there are a few you don’t like.
Top of the list, Miracle on 34th Street.
The heart-warming, timeless family classic?
More like classic pile of hogwash! First off, my elves make on average 1.76 presents annually for every kid on the planet – at least the nice ones. I’m in that workshop overseeing production 24/7/365. Do you really think I can afford to take time off, especially in December, to go hang out at Macy’s? Secondly, if I ever got thrown in the loony bin, do you really think I’d need some random do-gooder lawyer to help me out? I’m the head of the largest toy distribution center on the planet! I have a flotilla of attorneys at my beck and call.
What one thing would you like to see in a Santa movie, just once?
That’s hard to say. I mean, except for the sled bit, being Saint Nick isn’t all that exciting. It’s a lot of making spreadsheets and then rechecking them, usually twice. I need to keep the workshop up to ISO standards. Fred Claus came close on that front, but then that whole Vince Vaughn b-story kind of ruined it.
Even the detective work’s boring. I catch a kid throwing a fit at Best Buy because his mom won’t fork out for Final Fantasy XIII and BAM! He’s on the naughty list, case closed. That’s about it.
What one piece of advice do you have for writers working on a Santa script?
Drop me a line. I’m on the Web. Believe me, I get people asking for stuff all the time, it’s sort of my bread and butter, but never has a screenwriter asked me for help with a script – except Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. But then they didn’t even write about me. At least, that’s what they told me.