‘Violent Night’ star David Harbour wasn’t entirely convinced about playing an ass-kicking Santa Claus

Tomorrow, Dec. 2, Universal Pictures’ Violent Night, starring David Harbour, hits theaters. The Stranger Things and Black Widow star portrays a version of Saint Nick we’ve never seen before. When a team of mercenaries holds a family compound hostage on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus himself is on the ground and ready to kick some *ss and take some names. Tommy Wirkola, director of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, helms the projects with Josh Miller and Patrick Casey co-writing.

John Leguizamo, Cam Gigandet, Alex Hassell and Alexis Louder in supporting roles as Jimmy Scrooge, Morgan Lightstone, Jason Lightstone and Linda Matthews join Harbour. Violent Night had its world premiere at the New York Comic Con on October 7, 2022, and Harbour has spoken out about his apprehensions prior to being cast. In an interview with Variety, Harbour reveals that he was hesitant to portray Kris Kringle in a horror/comedy capacity.

“My initial thoughts were like, ‘What the hell is this? I don’t know what you guys are talking about,’ It was pitched to me as an action-comedy Christmas movie with Santa Claus at the center — who had a very different past and 10,000 years ago was a very different man — and that he has acquired a certain set of skills that he must use to fight bad guys in the future. I thought, ‘Wow, this is… I don’t know about this.’”

Apparently Harbour was approached with the idea that Father Christmas had a very particular set of skills, skills that he’s acquired over a very long career, skills that make him a nightmare — just kidding. But the concept of Santa Claus ditching the North Pole, Mrs. Claus, his elves and the whole Christmas shtick to become a trained combatant is certainly off-putting for any potential actor. Harbour must have needed a week or two to process the film’s unorthodox storyline before eventually deciding to come onboard. It’s certainly not every day that the jolly figure we’ve come to know through the legend of a monk known as St. Nicholas becomes a trained killer out for blood. Anyone would be a tad disconcerted.

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