After back-to-back turns in haunting initiatives like American Horror Story and Smile, Kal Penn hits the small display screen within the household pleasant vacation sequence The Santa Clauses reverse Tim Allen. In the (now streaming) Disney+ sequence, the leisure business vet performs a pissed off entrepreneur who’s juggling bold enterprise targets with the calls for of being a father. The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Penn over Zoom to speak about how why he signed on, what it was like appearing reverse younger actors enjoying very previous elves and who his character actually is.
When this got here your method, how acquainted have been you with The Santa Clause franchise?
Very acquainted. The first Santa Clause film got here out after I was in highschool, so I used to be a little bit older than the individuals who totally few up watching it. Meaning, I wasn’t eight years previous enjoying Hungry Hungry Hippos nevertheless it did get added to the record of Christmas films I watched rising up, like Home Alone, A Christmas Story and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Jason Weiner is considered one of our government producers and a director and we labored collectively years in the past on a film known as [National Lampoon’s Van Wilder]. He emailed me and mentioned, “Hey, I want to send you a script for a top secret holiday show. Let me know what you think. There may be a part in it for you.” As quickly as I began studying it, I assumed it could possibly be a continuation of The Santa Clause films. So sure, I knew that I needed to be part of it. I didn’t even must learn the opposite 5 episodes. I used to be tremendous, tremendous excited.
I like that the monitor from Van Wilder to a household vacation sequence about Santa Claus on Disney+…
I do know, it’s fairly a soar, proper?
I don’t know that I’ve seen you play a father earlier than. How was that have?
It was cool. I prefer to joke about how complicated it’s to prep for scenes as a result of, for instance, my character Simon has scenes with 20 elves who’re 1,400 years previous. In your head, you assume I’ve a scene with a 1,400-year-old however you then present as much as work and it’s a bunch of 10-year-olds who’re clearly enjoying elves. But they’re good they usually’re so good. Our forged is wonderful. But a creepy factor occurs once they name a break and an enormous door slides open on the soundstage and all of the sudden, it’s 75-degrees outdoors with palm timber and all of those youngsters with creepy, pointy ears and these disturbing elf sneakers are strolling round. Out of context it feels so unusual. Put me again within the North Pole the place every little thing is healthful and magical and delightful.
I’m out of time. Can you set the file straight on who you play? I do know from watching the primary few episodes that you’re a father/entrepreneur however in line with your credit on IMDb, it says “Simon/Santa Claus.” On your latest look on Live With Kelly and Ryan, you known as your character a villain. So, who’s Simon?
I might say that my character, Simon Choksi, is considered one of many individuals who Santa recruits to interview for the method of being the alternative Santa Claus when Tim Allen’s Santa decides that he’s going to retire. Simon occurs to have the identical initials, S.C., however I’ll go away it at that as a result of his arc additionally reveals extra concerning the relationship he has along with his daughter and rediscovering the true which means of Christmas.
Interview edited for size and readability.