Chris Columbus has directed some of the most enduring movies of the past few decades, including the Christmas classic Home Alone.
“The first one was primarily a comedy about two kids on an adventure at night,” Columbus says. “For the second, we wanted to open up the mythology. That’s what Kurt was interested in.”
“Kurt” is Kurt Russell, who plays Santa Claus. The actor wrote 200 pages of backstory for his character before filming began for the second movie, embracing that mythology by filling in gaps such as how Santa met Mrs. Claus.
“That really started the discussion and opened up the world of the North Pole,” Columbus says. “We wanted to bring to it the same integrity and visual scale that we did with Harry Potter. We made it into a completely new world.”
Of course, it helped that Mrs. Claus is played by Goldie Hawn, Russell’s longtime partner offscreen. The two had great chemistry, Columbus says, which was fun to direct.
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“When you take a couple who’s been together 40 years, there’s a tremendous emotional complexity to their chemistry. They’ve had some ups and downs, and they bring those to the set. Directors strive for that sort of chemistry between actors,” Columbus says.
Chronicles picks up the story of Kate (Darby Camp), the girl who helped save Christmas in the first film, who is reluctantly spending the holiday in Cancun with her mother and mom’s new boyfriend and the boyfriend’s son, Jack (Jahzir Bruno).
Kate and Jack get whisked to the North Pole, where they once again assist Santa with saving Christmas.
The director has worked with many child actors over the years. His most famous films, including Alone, the first two Harry Potter films and the 1980s hit Goonies, feature kids in leading roles.
“There’s two different ways you have to direct child actors, and it comes down to how much experience they have prior to the film. There’s a scene between Darby and Sunny [Suljic, who plays Doug] where they’re two unaccompanied minors in a room and they have a beautiful conversation. I had to do very little as a director, just gave a few tiny directions,” Columbus says.
“Jazhir is adorable, but he’s done one film prior to this, so working with him was more along the lines of Harry Potter and Home Alone. You do a lot off-camera for kids new to a movie set, giving them energy and feeding them lines.”
For those who enjoyed the big musical scene in jail in the original Chronicles, rest assured there’s another show-stopper in Chronicles 2.
“One of my best friends is Steve van Zandt [from the E Street Band], and we’ve worked together for a while, he’s been a musical producer for me,” Columbus says. “So this time we said why not do an original song? We knew Santa had to go back in time, and the only way to get out was to raise the Christmas spirit, so we recorded an original Steve van Zandt song, dueting with Darlene Love, one of the greatest of all time. It was a joy to film.”
Source: Forbes – Business