Tim Allen can now be seen in “The Santa Clauses.” Photo courtesy of Disney
NEW YORK, Nov. 15 (UPI) — Comedian Tim Allen says he is proud that, for decades now, his Toy Story and The Santa Clause franchises have been positive parts of many people’s childhoods and holiday traditions.
“My goal was as always to bring a smile and an internal connection to these projects,” Allen told UPI in a recent email interview. “I was humbled and continue to be humbled at the connection and affection these iconic roles brought to families everywhere.”
“I am but a part of the magic created by so many who dedicate so much time and love to bringing magic to the screen,” he added.
Allen first played the titular global gift giver in the 1994 blockbuster, The Santa Clause, then reprised the role in two sequels released in 2002 and 2006.
A new comedy series called The Santa Clauses premieres Wednesday on Disney+.
It shows Allen once again as the man in red, but this time around, he wants to find a worthy replacement for himself, so he can retire and spend more time with his wife Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell) and their teen children Cal (Austin Kane) and Sandra (Elizabeth Allen-Dick).
The series, which celebrates family and tradition, arrives as a warm, funny alternative to the many dark and dystopian tales being offered on television these days.
“It’s about time, right?” Allen said.
The 69-year-old actor explained his costume went a long way to helping him get back into the headspace for a role he hasn’t played in many years.
“It’s amazing how working my way into that suit actually transforms the actor into that jolly, complex character,” he said.
The six episode-series format allows the cast and filmmakers more freedom than another 2-hour movie would, too.
“We are able to display more details and tell a deeper story,” Allen said.
Mitchell, 52, and Kane, 19, told UPI in a separate Zoom interview that the other members of the Clause family are struggling with their own identities and dreams when the show opens at the North Pole where Santa has his toy factory and where there are many elves, but no other human children.
“They love each other,” Mitchell said. “I think they treat each other with a great deal of tolerance and humor.”
“They let each other be who they are, but I also think they are very parent-dominated kids, in that they actually still listen to their parents, which I think is so rare at that age. It’s almost like we got a little break because we had them to ourselves for so long,” she added.
Kane described the Clause family as “the heart and soul” of the series.
“We mirror the parents so much,” the actor said. “There is so much we take from the parents and we are so influenced by them. It’s going to be fun to notice that as you watch.”
The family has made a lot of sacrifices so Santa could fulfill the wishes of believers all around the world on Christmas Eve.
While delightfully decorated and inhabited by joyful citizens, their home is also perpetually cold and cut off from the rest of the world.
“They all took it in stride and I don’t think they really start to question it until we find them again in the first episode with Carol saying, ‘I don’t have a first name,'” Mitchell said.
“They are forward-thinking, grateful people, so I don’t think they are sitting there wondering what could have been,” she continued. “So, it’s kind of fun having them be presented with obstacles that make them confront that and make them think about those sacrifices and what is possible.”
Austin is constantly seen wearing a virtual reality headset and viewers will likely laugh when it is finally revealed that the world he is exploring digitally is one where he does mundane things like mowing lawn.
“Our characters, we don’t really know [what’s out there] because we haven’t left,” he said. “We’re OK with it. We’re like, ‘This is my home but we also want to experience more.'”
Mitchell returns to the role after playing her in the second and third Santa Clause films.
“It was such a joy. I love Tim. We have so much love and respect for each other,” she said.
Mitchell and Kane said they are thrilled to introduce the franchise to a new generation.
“It’s exciting to have a place where people can gather for a little joy and a little nostalgia, combined with some new stuff,” Mitchell said. “My mom is so excited.”
Kane added, “It’s so much fun. I have so many cousins asking so many questions.”