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Look out for more coverage of
Fred Claus in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Fred Claus

THE STARS:
Vince Vaughn • Paul Giamatti • Kevin Spacey • Rachel Weisz
DIRECTOR: David Dobkin

Paul Giamatti as Nick (Santa) Claus and Vince Vaughn as Fred Claus THE CONCEPT:
Fred Claus (Vaughn) has lived his entire life in his brother Nicholas’s very large shadow. As Santa Claus (Giamatti), his brother has always given, the polar opposite of the fast-talking repo man Fred has become. Over Mrs Claus’ objections, Nicholas agrees to help his brother and give him money, but only if he comes to the North Pole to help with Christmas this year.

U.S. RELEASE: November 9 2007, Nationwide
• Rated: PG

THE COMMENTS:

DAVID DOBKIN:
Director David Dobkin“We actually shot an R-rated movie and then cut it down [he laughs]. No. It wasn’t really because the film is geared for kids and the kid in all of us is something that we always talked about. The spirit of the film was very family oriented; it was the Christmas spirit.”

VINCE VAUGHN:
“I think it’s a testament to David that this kind of feels like a live action clay-motion film. It has such heart to it. I think it works on a smart level; the movie never has to be risqué in order to accomplish that. So the adults really are following it on one level, and the kids are really connecting on another level. It was fun to jump in and make a big Christmas movie.”

PAUL GIAMATTI:
“When I get a script like this I’m not thinking, ‘Oh, I’m doing a big holiday movie.’ I just got a good script that was interesting to me. It had a nice part, a fine director, and then when I heard all the other people who were doing it I knew it was going to be a good time. “

KEVIN SPACEY (Clyde Northcutt, an efficiency expert trying to close Santa’s business down) on whether he prefers playing villainous roles:
Kathy Bates as Mother Claus, Kevin Spacey as Clyde and Trevor Peacock as Papa Claus
“The truth is that when you are playing a character you don’t ever label the character. You don’t say, ‘Oh, now I’m playing this villain.’ You are playing a Human being who might do bad things, and might do good things. I think what I liked about Clyde in this film is that even though he starts off in a certain place, he ends up in an entirely different place. There is actually a journey. I reject the idea he’s a bad guy. Yeah, he’s kicking Santa’s ass, but at the end they are finally using spreadsheets and it’s efficient. It’s gotten much better.”

GIAMATTI on playing Santa Claus:
“I did a lot of deep back story [he laughs]. Part of the nice thing about it is that it’s such an archetype. I had to work up a good Ho-Ho-Ho. I put in as much effort as I could to get the right things down that everyone expects. He’s supposed to be a regular guy who is over worked and over stressed, runs a huge business that drives him crazy. I took a character like that and then I overlaid all the typical Santa Claus stuff.”

VAUGHN:
“Paul and I just did this fun short for the World Series with these kids. We did Fred Claus coaching, and when the whole thing was over one of the kids came running up to me and said, ‘Hey, Fred, tell your brother to get me something this year.’ I looked at him and I said, ‘Oh, I got you.’ So now I’m just hoping that this guy is getting something good, otherwise he’s going to hunt me down.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Fred Claus site
Images above © Warner Brothers
Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #690, December 2007 cover

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