Santa Claus isn’t the only one coming to town on Disney+. Kal Penn stepped into the North Pole for the streaming service’s new series, The Santa Clauses.
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The series from Disney Branded Television is a “continuation” of the holiday movie franchise, which began in 1994 with the original film, The Santa Clause. Nearly 30 years later, Scott Calvin — played by Golden Globe winner Tim Allen — is ready to retire as Santa and is looking for a replacement in The Santa Clauses.
WATCH: Check out the trailer here!
Kal, who plays single father and CEO Simon Choksi in the series, told HELLO! in a new interview that joining the franchise, which he grew up watching himself, has been “one of those kind of very dreamy moments.”
It’s also been special for the Harold & Kumar star to be a part of something hopeful. Kal said, “The reason I’m excited about this one is we live in a world that can be a little cynical, maybe a little polarizing, and to be part of something that’s hopeful and about love and magic and togetherness is really, really special.”
The Santa Clauses premieres Nov. 16 on Disney+. Continue reading to find out what Kal Penn had to say about working with Tim Allen on the six-episode series, along with his favorite holiday tradition…
I loved the movies growing up and now I love the series. Can you talk to us about joining a beloved holiday franchise like this?
Yes, of course! So I also grew up watching these movies. I think the first Tim Allen Santa Clause movie came out when I was in high school, so like the era of floppy disks and big computers. So they quickly got added to the rotation right with like Home Alone and A Christmas Story. And then Jason [Winer], one of our EPs and our director, he and I did a movie called Van Wilder years ago together and he reached out to me about this and said, “It’s sort of a top secret TV project for Disney+. It’s a holiday movie.
“I’d love to send you one of the episodes and would love to talk to you about playing a part in it.” And as soon as I started reading it, I was like, “I know what this is. This is awesome!” And it’s also not a replacement, right? They’re not remaking the old Santa Clause movies. It’s a continuation with six standalone chapters. I mean, what’s there to say “no” to, so I immediately said “yes.” I was like, “I know what this is. This is awesome.” And I got to go work at the North Pole every day. It was incredible. So I’m so excited it’s finally coming out.
Did you, having been a fan yourself, ever imagine you’d join this franchise later on in life?
I think this goes for a lot of things when things that you love as a kid and then you actually get to do them as an adult. I mean, it’s definitely one of those kind of very dreamy moments, right?
The only other thing that I put in that category is like if I ever got to be on Sesame Street. That’d be another like “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I get to do this.”
The sets are incredible. The costumes are amazing. Did you feel like a child stepping into the North Pole?
For sure. The whole set design team, and I think they didn’t have that much time to even put it together. The 2022 version of something that’s as iconic as the North Pole, with the special effects that are available today, the effort and energy that goes into putting something like this together… We shot it over the spring in Los Angeles. You’re stuck in traffic. You’re getting flipped off by people who are honking at you and then you step into work and you’re in this beautiful North Pole for the next 14 hours, and there’s just nothing to be upset about.
And so being able to share this with people who are gonna watch it at home, with their families on their couches like getting to enter that world with us should be, I hope, a nice fun experience.
What was it like working with Tim Allen? I mean, he’s the original Santa. He’s also Buzz Lightyear…
He’s awesome. I was a fan obviously before we had the chance to work together. He’s hilarious… He’s funny with the scripted lines. He’s hilarious with his improvisation. Really funny in-between scenes when we’re just talking about life, stuff. I just think the world of him. I hope we can work together again, too.
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Before I let you go, what’s your favorite holiday tradition?
Oh, probably, this is gonna sound hokey, I promise I’m not saying this just to promote a Christmas show, but I love watching holiday movies with friends and family around the holidays. You really do tune out the rest of the world and it’s like, you know, watching Clark Griswold do Clark Griswold Christmas things, or watching Home Alone. Watching Love Actually! Like all of the Christmassy holiday movies are the way I like to spend it.
The Santa Clauses premieres with two episodes 16 November on Disney+
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