SUR­VIV­ING CHRIST­MAS | The fes­tive fam­ily com­edy that tells it like it re­ally is…

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It’s not a Christ­mas movie,” snaps di­rec­tor James Dear­den. “It’s a movie about a fam­ily that just hap­pens to take place at Christ­mas.” Stand­ing in a rus­tic man­sion near Lon­don’s Canada Wa­ter, with dec­o­ra­tions lin­ing the walls and chil­dren bounc­ing around in glit­tery jumpers, Dear­den is the one per­son who doesn’t look like he’s hav­ing a ball.

For Dear­den, Sur­viv­ing Christ­mas hits a par­tic­u­larly raw nerve. Writ­ing the script af­ter sev­eral manic Christ­mases of his own, Dear­den de­cided to turn all of his bad fes­tive mem­o­ries into a fam­ily com­edy with a rougher, more re­al­is­tic edge. “There are some prat­fall mo­ments, but it’s not a bloody Jim Car­rey movie!”

He might not like to ad­mit it, but Sur­viv­ing Christ­mas is a com­edy

- set over three mad days in the life of Dan (Ju­lian Oven­den) and Mi­randa (Gemma Whe­lan) as they spend their first Christ­mas to­gether in a crum­bling coun­try house. He’s still see­ing his ex, she’s in­vited her snooty sis­ter (Joely Richard­son) and a dozen other rel­a­tives – plus the plumb­ing doesn’t work, the kids are fight­ing and the house is full of farm an­i­mals.

“Ev­ery­thing that could go wrong, goes wrong,” laughs Whe­lan. “From leaky pipes and bad Wi-Fi to fights, in­fi­delity and ex­plod­ing tur­keys. We’ve got dogs, cats, rab­bits, don­keys, chick­ens and pigs run­ning ev­ery­where!”

With the film’s pro­ducer pitch­ing it as “Meet The Fock­ers and Na­tiv­ity meet Fa­tal At­trac­tion”, it’s back to Dear­den to tell us just what makes it unique. “I think a lot of peo­ple can re­late to this kind of Christ­mas – one that doesn’t look like the sen­ti­men­tal vi­sion shown in Hol­ly­wood,” he says, tak­ing an­other ex­as­per­ated look around. “Some­times ev­ery­thing goes wrong and we only re­alise how much fun it was af­ter it’s all over...”


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