‘Christmas Chronicles 2’ Stars Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn Had Big Ideas for Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Sequel
When Kurt Russell played Santa Claus in The Christmas Chronicles, there was only one woman who could fill the stockings of Mrs. Claus. Goldie Hawn plays Santa’s wife, and she has a much larger role in the sequel, The Christmas Chronicles 2. This time, Kate (Darby Camp) and her future stepbrother Jack (Jahzir Bruno) have to help the Clauses stop a traitorous elf (Julian Dennison) from ending Christmas.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains mild spoilers for The Christmas Chronicles 2 and the original movie.]
Matt Lieberman, writer of both Christmas Chronicles films, spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by phone about the sequel, which is now available on Netflix. Here’s how Hawn and Russell helped him shape their characters.
Goldie Hawn was a surprise addition to the first ‘Christmas Chronicles’
Hawn’s participation in the sequel kind of gives away the surprise from the first Christmas Chronicles. Even Lieberman didn’t know she was going to show up at the end when Santa returned to the North Pole.
“Never in my wildest dreams did we think [we’d get Hawn],” Lieberman said. “I don’t even know if that moment was even in the original script. I can’t remember. That was all kind of put together at the last minute. It was beyond our wildest expectations.”
A Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn movie had a lot to live up to
Having Hawn show up as a cameo is one thing. Lieberman knew that writing a full movie with Hawn and Russell had added pressure.
“She was not committed at all to do the second movie when she was put into the first,” Lieberman said. “So we decided to take a swing at putting her in this one, but we knew we had to make it meaningful, not just because it was her but it was her and Kurt’s first movie that they’ve done together since Overboard and that it was Mrs. Claus on top of that, we wanted to make the character really meaningful, interesting and cool and make an impact.”
Kurt Russell took Matt Lieberman to Santa school
Lieberman only writes The Christmas Chronicles. Russell lives them.
“Having Kurt be in this role obviously made Christmas Chronicles 1 what it was,” Lieberman said. “He just put his whole self into Santa Claus. When you sit with Kurt Russell, the summer maybe two or three months before shooting started and he already started to grow out his beard. You sit with him and he’s just so committed to the role. I told my wife it feels like I’m writing Santa’s autobiography with him or something.”
So, Lieberman took notes on everything Russell wanted to be in The Christmas Chronicles 2.
“He had such a specific idea of who he was based on a lot of real mythology and St. Nick,” Lieberman said. “His whole origin story which we were able to include in the movie, a lot of that came from Kurt [and] the idea that Mrs. Claus has this magic element.”
Goldie Hawn also had ideas for ‘The Christmas Chronicles 2’
Hawn was not quite as method as Russell, but she made suggestions too.
“There are definitely a lot of conversations like, ‘Would she come at this from this angle? This just happened. We would still be upset here. We can’t just switch into a different attitude right away,’” Lieberman said.
Russell and Hawn also suggested on the themes of The Christmas Chronicles 2, that Santa and Mrs. Claus never had children of their own. Kate and Jack give them a brief taste of what having children might be like.
“That idea kind of came through drafts and actually thinking through the characters with Kurt and Goldie,” Lieberman said. “Last year, I sat with them and [director] Chris [Columbus] and we really thought about who these people are, what makes them tick and what’s important to them. That’s how those ideas worked their way into the story.”