The holiday movie A Boy Called Christmas is coming to Netflix in November, telling the origin story of Father Christmas. Based on the book of the same name, which was written by Matt Haig and published in 2015, the film is directed by Gil Kenan, who serves as a writer alongside Ol Parker, according to IMDb. Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin serve as producers, while the production companies are Canal+, Ciné+ and Blueprint Pictures (via Wikipedia).
The cast includes Henry Lawfull as Nikolas, Maggie Smith as Aunt Ruth, Kristen Wiig as Aunt Carlotta, Michiel Huisman as Joel, Toby Jones as Father Topo, Jim Broadbent as Father Vodell, Zoe Colletti as The Truth Pixie, Sally Hawkins as Mother Something, Rune Temte as Anders, and Stephen Merchant as the voice of Miika the Mouse. When talking to Empire about the stars, director Kenan said, “I would say that it is intimidating in every way to direct every great actor; it’s the most intimidating thing in the world, because when you step into the ring with actors who have actual pedigree and really know their stuff, it means that you have to give direction that is up to a standard that is unreachable.”
Rather than jumping into the story of St. Nick as an older man, ala Christmas Chronicles, A Boy Called Christmas goes back to the beginning. It’s the project of turning the story – one of “adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic,” as Goodreads points out – into a movie was set into motion by Blueprint Pictures and Studiocanal in 2016, Screen Daily reported. Filming ran from April 2019 to July 2019 (via Production List).
A teaser was released on December 21, 2020, on StudiocanalUK’s YouTube channel, and the official trailer came out September 14 of this year. “Based on the international best-seller by Matt Haig, believe in the impossible and enter a magical world with the whole family this holiday season,” STUDIOCANAL International wrote. The studio went on to say that the tale focuses on Nikolas’ search for his father, while accompanied by a reindeer named Blitzen and a pet mouse.
Christmas origin stories have been done before, but Kenan discussed the topic with Empire, saying that this is something different. “Wading into very dense waters … but also a genre that has created some bonafide film classics and ones that people actually have very strong attachments to, relationships that are perennial and you come back to year after year,” he said. “That creates a really high standard that we have to hold ourselves to. But also it creates an amazing opportunity to point at a type of film and say, ‘I think there is a story to tell here that’s new and original.'”
This movie is not to be confused with the story of a boy calling 911 to report the Grinch for stealing Christmas. For A Boy Called Christmas, fans can expect this film, “a story that proves that nothing is impossible” (via Goodreads), in November 2021, while Empire reported an exact date: November 21, just in time for the holiday season. It will be available in the U.S. on Netflix.
“I think we knew we were making something that, if we did our job well, could make people feel better or hopeful,” Kenan concluded, while discussing the project with Empire, “and we had no idea how much use that concept could be when we set out to make this in 2018, when everything was simple and life was so easy!”
Time will tell if A Boy Called Christmas can reach the popularity of other popular holiday movies like Home Alone. A Boy Called Christmas will be released in November.