Struggling to find their rightful place in the world can be a challenge for anyone, even celebrated pop culture icons as Santa Claus. Even a man who brings joy to countless families around the world for several decades can begin to realize that his own wife and children need to spend more quality time with him, at home, as they get older. That’s certainly the case for Tim Allen’s incarnation of Santa Claus in the new Christmas mini-series, The Santa Clauses.
Jack Burditt, who created the comedy-fantasy mini-series, worked as an executive producer and the showrunner on the project, as well. Allen and Jason Winer also served as executive producers on, and the latter also directed two episodes of, the comedy.
In The Santa Clauses, which is based on the hit 1990s-2000s film series of the same name, Scott Calvin (Allen) has been working as the titular Santa Claus for nearly 30 years. He’s as jolly as ever, but as Christmas declines in popularity, so does his Santa magic. As a result, Scott struggles to keep up with the demands of the job, as well as being there for his family.
Upon discovering there’s a way to retire from his post, Scott considers stepping down as Santa Claus. So he sets out to find a worthy successor so that he can become a better husband to his wife, Carol Calvin / Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell), and father to their children, Buddy (Austin Kane) and Sandra (Elizabeth Allen-Dick).
Allen, Mitchell and their co-star, Kal Penn, who plays Simon Choksi, a game inventor and product developer, generously took the time recently to participate in a global virtual press conference to talk about starring on The Santa Clauses.
The first three episodes of the six-episode mini-series are now streaming on Disney+. The last remaining three episodes of The Santa Clauses will premiere every Wednesday, with the last installment debuting on December 14.
Q: Elizabeth, you’re back as Carol. What can fans look forward to seeing from you in this series?
EM: I’m so happy to be back! I have a lot of fun things to do. Although I wasn’t in the room, I think the [writers] put their heads together and thought, Carol needs something to do, and they gave me so much.
I have so many funny things to say and I get to play with everybody. Carol also gets to find her voice. I do have quite a lot to do!
Q: Tim, what convinced you to come back to this franchise after so many years? Did you like the scripts, or did you just say, I like the character, I’ll come back? Or did they have to convince you?
TA: Money! No, no, no, that just seems obvious, so I wanted to say it.
It was a script. Jack Burditt, who wrote this, and I kept coming up with themes. As his mind and my loud voice combined, we answered some specific questions. I’m really a story guy, so there’s a lot of stuff he keyed in on in the very first episode that goes back to the first film that I still had questions about.
I don’t want to give too much away, but it was like, wow, yes. It connected the films to today and moves the story along.
So I said, “If you can go there in the first chapter” – because I called it a six-hour book, and it’s also like a very long movie – “I’m interested.” There’s some real magic in there, and it makes sense.
It was always weird to me that when I first showed up at the North Pole in the first film in that baggy coat, none of the elves seemed to care about what happened to the other Santa that fell off the roof. So we answered that right away [on the show], and it really weaves itself into this story.
I also love sci-fi and superhero movies, so when those elements really make sense in a story, I love them.
Once the show got started moving along and we got that first chapter, we knew the first episode would be marvelous on how it sets things up.
Q: Tim, you’ve played many iconic characters. If Santa Claus, Tim Taylor, Mike Baxter and Buzz Lightyear spent Christmas together, how would that go?
TA: Not very well! No, I think it would go very well, except for Buzz, as he’s so small. Santa would think of him as a toy and be very confused about him, because I think he can only come alive when no one’s looking. So Santa wouldn’t remember bringing Buzz to the house, while, Tim Taylor would want to remake him to be a little more powerful.
But all of these guys love their families, so I think it might be a good idea to get them together. But I keep thinking about little Buzz, since he’s a toy and can’t move with everyone around. The magic would be Santa allowing Buzz interact with other people, and that would be a fun day. But now you’ve got me thinking!
Q: How was the mood on the set?
EM: We had so much fun. I always laugh with Tim, and in this case, I had the kids, as well. They’re such a joyful group of kids, and so funny, kind and talented. So it was a really festival mood and had the feeling of Christmas.
We filmed after the lockdown, so the kids were able to talk and be together in person. There was such a sense of community, as their parents were there, and I got to know all of them. It was a genuine joy to go to work in the morning.
TA: It was a joy. I got to work on my daughter [Allen-Dick] on this, as well as Elizabeth, Kall, Matilda Lawler and Devin Bright. Each one of these individuals was a surprise.
I also got emotional with the crew. I’ve been around great movies, and I love the crews I’ve worked with. But I have to tell you, they put this together quickly, efficiently and well done.
Everyone put in so much work and intensity to make a great product for the audience. But all of us wanted to make a great show for the viewer. I felt overwhelmed many times by the writing and production staffs and the actors.
Making this show was a monumental task, and I give credit to the crew that put it together. You’re going to see it on the screen, even with the short amount of time they had to put it together. It’s breathtaking how much joy we present through all the work.
KP: The only thing I would add to that it was magic to have your office be a set on the North Pole. Imagine getting up in the morning and driving through traffic in L.A. You then pull into your privileged parking spot and walk into the North Pole.
So the joy that we got to feel every day this spring was amazing. Tim said it best; I’m genuinely excited to share that with people. The entire team was wonderful, and the smiles coming in and out of work everyday were infectious.
The kids were also so smart. I’ve never met children who will see a plate of Christmas cookies and say to you, “They’re real, but they’ve been sprayed with something, so don’t eat them.”
I’m like, “Thank you for that little pro tip because I would have eaten the cookies. Thanks for looking out for me!” So they were just great and made us laugh everyday.
Q: Tim, is this your last time playing this character, or would you stuck around if they ask you and have a good script?
TA: I don’t know. I originally said no this [mini-series], until we massaged it. While this was written as though it was a book, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be another book.
This is a very delicate one for me because we really worked hard to finish it. Even though this book is closed, it’s not to say there isn’t another book.
There are some really weird doors that we left open that we didn’t get into, as I have previous connections to other characters that we didn’t get to because we really didn’t have enough time. There are the legendary characters that I really adore in the Santa Clause movies, but I don’t know if we’ll come back to explore them further.
But the writing is spectacular and the writers really know how to tell these stories.
Here’s the trailer of the film.