25 Secrets About The Santa Clause Revealed

Tim Allen's beloved Christmas comedy The Santa Clause came out 25 years ago, but the classic film almost had a completely different cast, name and shocking death for Santa

By Tierney Bricker 11 Nov, 2019 10:30 PMTags
Watch: Tim Allen Confirms "Home Improvement" Reboot Almost Happened

 

In 1994, no one expected The Santa Clause to do all that well at the box office. its reluctant Santa Claus Tim Allen, a firmly established TV star thanks to Home Improvement, had never lead a movie before. And, hello, it was a Christmas movie that killed Santa and dealt realistically with divorce. And Disney almost didn't even release the film under the Disney Films banner. But then a Christmas miracle happened: It made almost $200 million dollars, certified Allen as one of comedy's top leading man and The Santa Clause became one of the most beloved holiday movies of all-time. 

25 years later, the movie has cemented its status as Christmas classic, spawning two hit sequels and earning an eternal spot on TV come December. But the film almost didn't star Allen, as producers were nervous he wasn't a big enough draw at the box office. And the original script was much darker, involving a violent death for Santa Claus. 

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25 Secrets About The Santa Clause Revealed

In honor of The Santa Clause's 25th anniversary on Nov. 11, we're revealing 25 secrets about the movie, including which star knocked their front teeth out during filming, the film's original title and why Allen almost didn't return for the sequels...

1. The original name of the movie was Such a Clatter.

2. Other actors considered for the role of Scott Calvin/Santa Clause were major stars like Tom Hanks and Mel Gibson, according to first-time film director John Pasquin in a podcast interview, as well as Bill Murray, who was reportedly the top candidate. But after starring in the Christmas classic comedy Scrooged, Murray "had no interest in pursuing another holiday-themed project."

3. But producers weren't totally sold on Allen despite Home Improvement's wild popularity. "[Tim] can't open a movie, he's a TV star," screenwriters Steve Rudnick and Leo Benvenuti recalled the producers explaining. 

4. Jeff Daniels, Stanley Tucci, and Bradley Whitford were considered for the role of Neal Miller, which Judge Reinhold nabbed, appearing in all three films.

5. Allen's Home Improvement wife Patricia Richardson and Patricia Heaton were considered for the role of Laura, with Wendy Crewson ultimately landing the role of Scott's ex-wife.

6. The hardest role to cast was Charlie, Scott's son as they were looking for a child actor between the ages of 6 and 9, "who had sensitivity, able to really access those emotions, but have a real innocence about him," the casting director said of the nationwide search. The production team launched open auditions in 13 different cities before finding Eric Lloyd.

7. During filming, Lloyd had to wear fake teeth after knocking out his front teeth when he went to a baseball game with his family. Oh, and that poster image of Scott and Charlie? It wasn't actually Lloyd's body, with the actor revealing on Reddit, "It's some other kid standing behind a cutout of Tim Allen. And they just put my face on it. So they didn't have to pay me for another day."

8. The original script was much darker, with Scott actually shooting Santa Claus as he believed he was a robber. "[Originally], I shot him," Allen revealed. "And [DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey] Katzenberg was adamant, 'We can't start a movie like that.'"

9. Peter Boyle plays Scott's boss in the first film but would go on to star in the next two movies as a different character: Father Time. 

10. Allen's Home Improvement co-star Jimmy Labriola (Benny) makes a brief appearance in the film as a truck driver Scott and Charlie ask a question from the sleigh.

11. Allen underwent 4-5 hours of makeup/prosthetic applications to transform in Santa (and that doesn't count the two hours it took to take it all off) and had to wear multiple fat suits during filming, which took place in the middle of summer. "You can't describe how maddening the process is," Allen said of getting into character as Santa, calling it "terrible." Because of the latex, Allen experienced heat rashes, scars, scratches and infections. 

12. There was a time limit on how long Allen could be in the suit while filming, maxing out at six hour because of the poor ventilation. "They got better and better at air conditioning me, just keeping me calm," Allen told ABC News of the later films. 

13. Casting real children as the North Pole's elves proved a bit challenging for Allen, who was known to improvise on set. "You didn't want the kids around when Tim got going," Crewson said. "He would go on these hilarious rants, streaked through with obscenity." This lead to production pulling their star away for the occasional "time out" when he seemed close to cursing. 

14. Allen had to go back and re-record many of his lines because of the sounds the Santa suit made, thanks to the bells on it. "I ADRed [Automatic Dialog Replacement] most of that film because people [said], 'What's all that ringing?' And it was me walking."

15. While filming, Allen was also writing his first book, so "any break I had, I had a guy in my trailer, like, 'So can we get started with work?' And I had just kind of left a job...that was a really stupid thing on my part."

16. But all the hard work paid off: Allen had the No. 1 movie at the box office, the No. 1 show on TV (Home Improvement) and was at the top of The New York Times Best-Sellers list, Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man

17. The original script focused more on Charlie outside of his relationship with his dad (meaning scenes without Allen in them), but the running time was deemed too long for children so the scenes were cut. The scenes included Charlie struggling with his dad's transition into Santa Claus and dealing with bullying at school. Overall, over 30 minutes of footage was cut. 

18. Old DVD releases of the film include a line that was later removed from the film, with Scott making a joke about calling "1-800-SPANK-ME," which the filmmakers did not realize was a real phone number for a sex line. Disney received complaints about children calling the number and decided to cut the line from the movie moving forward.

19. In its opening weekend, The Santa Clause debuted at No. 2 behind Interview With a Vampire, making $19 million, almost the same amount as the film's total budget. But then something strange happened: it kept performing, ultimately landing at No. 1 at the box office almost one month after its premiere. By Christmas, it had made well over $100 million in the U.S. alone. 

20. Given the surprise success of the first film, Disney was keen on doing a sequel, but Allen wanted to wait and make sure it would be a worthy follow-up. At one point, 16 different contributors had been involved in The Santa Clause 2, which finally hit theaters in 2002, with Allen almost walking away at a certain point. "We gave up. We got to the point where we all got frustrated," he said. "They greenlit the script, and I said I don't want to do this. But we pushed through."

21. Despite continuing to work together, Pasquin did not return to direct the follow-up films, with Allen crediting new director Michael Lembeck for helping make the sequel possible. "The studio and I were really disagreeing on which direction to take it if we were going to take it at all," the star explained. "We really didn't think they were going to do this–we were so far apart. And then Michael came in...and made the thing. He came to the set every day with an attitude that was great."

22. Dave Krumholtz (aka Bernard the Elf) revealed two surprising fans of the film: "Khloe and Kim Kardashian... they came up to me and said, 'We've seen The Santa Clause a hundred times!'" In fact, it's a tradition for the Kardashian family to watch the movie each Christmas Eve.

23. Krumholtz could not reprise the fan-favorite role of Bernard in the third and final film in the series due to scheduling conflicts with his hit CBS procedural Numbers

24. Kelly Preston, Jennifer Connelly and Brooke Shields were all reportedly considered for the role of Carol (aka the future Mrs. Claus) for The Santa Clause 2, with Lost star Elizabeth Mitchell ultimately landing the role. 

25. For the third film, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Martin Short joined the cast as Jack Frost, Santa's rival. Allen and Short had previously worked together on 1997's Jungle 2 Jungle