SURVIVING CHRISTMAS | The festive family comedy that tells it like it really is…
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...”
ETA | 30 NOVEMBER / SURVIVING CHRISTMAS OPENS NEXT MONTH.