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FRED CLAUS

Here Comes Fred Claus
"Every year around the holidays, Santa Claus is everywhere—in shopping malls, parades and on television. Santa really gets around. But what about his lesser-known brother Fred? I know that Santa's the more famous one, but let me tell you something: Fred's got a lot to offer,” says Vince Vaughn of his role in the new holiday comedy "Fred Claus.”

"Fred is Santa's older brother who became completely overshadowed by Santa Claus's astounding career achievements. There have been many movies made about Santa, so we made ‘Fred Claus' to shine a little overdue light on Fred,” director David Dobkin smiles.

The inspiration for the story of "Fred Claus” came from a simple question asked by the then eight-year-old daughter of writer-producer Jessie Nelson. "Molly asked me one day, ‘Does Santa Claus have a family?'” explains Nelson. The question sparked the filmmaker's imagination and ignited a story idea that became "Fred Claus.” Exploring what it would be like to grow up with, or rather in, the shadow of jolly old Saint Nicholas, Nelson says, "Santa must have been this perfect kid who was always generous and cherubic. But I was interested in telling a story about Santa's brother, Fred, a great kid who was misunderstood and ended up becoming the black sheep of the family.”

"Jessie's idea grabbed me immediately,” recalls Dobkin. "The dynamic between Fred and Santa is unique and universal at the same time. As a first child, you are the whole world to your parents, but when the second kid comes along, your attention gets cut by 50 percent. Even if your parents spread the attention around evenly, you're still giving up half of their unconditional love to your younger sibling. Combine that with being Santa Claus's underachieving brother—it's a situation that's ripe for comedy.”

"I think that the premise of ‘Fred Claus' is very funny and truly original,” remarks producer Joel Silver. "While it's very common for two brothers to not get along, who would've thought that someone like Santa Claus would have to deal with sibling rivalry? I've always wanted to do a big family movie, and what a perfect opportunity this is to do a fresh take on a holiday comedy.”

In the film, Fred is the firstborn. When baby Nicholas arrives, Fred, far from being jealous, vows to be the best big brother in the world. However, as the years pass, Fred's promise seems harder and harder to keep as Nicholas can't help but outshine his older brother Fred with his tidings of comfort and joy.

Initially, Nelson had different names for the character of Santa's underachieving brother. After toying with names like Bob and Joe, the writer-producer recounts, "One night when ‘The Godfather' was on TV, I thought, ‘Oh, that's perfect; he's Fredo.' That's when I decided to name the character Fred Claus; it's an homage to Fredo Corleone.”

Although Fred has issues, Nelson wanted to show that Santa doesn't have it easy either. "Being Santa must be equally hard,” offers Nelson. "Imagine the stress of having to deliver Christmas presents to every kid in the world in one night and having to be jolly about it the whole time. That's a lot of pressure on one person...even if he is a saint! Also, I thought it would fun to play with the idea that Santa is chubby because he eats his stress away.”

Dobkin adds, "I love the fact that the story portrays Santa Claus as a regular guy with everyday problems, worries and stresses.”

To pen the screenplay for "Fred Claus,” the filmmakers tapped the creativity of Dan Fogelman, who had previously written the animated comedy hit "Cars.” Fogelman remarks that he was immediately attracted to the idea, "I think anyone who has a brother or sister can relate to a sibling rivalry story. There's something interesting about the black sheep, but I also was interested in the notion of the sibling wh

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