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FRED CLAUS

The Claus Family Fashion
Costume designer Anna Sheppard was responsible for fashioning North Pole couture; Dobkin notes, "When Fred first arrives at the North Pole we wanted it to be very clear that he was entering a world that's been frozen in time. For Santa and his family, we drew inspiration from wholesome 1950s- and ‘60s-era family sitcoms like ‘My Three Sons' and ‘The Donna Reed Show.' The Claus family, sans Fred, represents the unspoiled nuclear family from a more idyllic time.”

Oscar-winning visual effects artist Neal Scanlan was charged with the task of transforming Paul Giamatti into jolly old Saint Nick with prosthetics and makeup, giving Giamatti the robust appearance of Father Christmas. "Our overall approach for turning Paul into Santa was to fulfill David's vision of Santa while giving Paul the freedom to explore and express his character,” states Scanlan.

Scanlan constructed Santa's physique with a body suit that was tailored to Giamatti's ideas of how Santa would hold himself and move. Scanlan also created proportionally sized and fully functioning prosthetic hands. Santa's hair and beard were shaped to showcase Giamatti's features, "especially his eyes, which are phenomenally expressive,” Scanlan offers. "Paul is a joy to work with. He is the kind of actor that prosthetic artists dream of working with. He was patient, good-humored and above all seemed to find the positive aspects in what is ultimately an uncomfortable and laborious process.”

Hours were spent each day in applying the makeup, and Giamatti says, "It took me a little while to get used to the whole process. I'd heard from other actors about how hard it is, so I was mentally prepared. Once I got used to wearing the suit and the prosthetic hands, I really began to feel like Santa. The suit and makeup really completed the character.”

Dobkin recalls, "Paul would often spend time walking around set between takes wearing only his Santa hair and makeup, a black Lycra suit and a pair of large prosthetic hands. He seemed so comfortable and had such a great attitude about the whole experience.”

Though Giamatti endured wearing prosthetics and the body suit every day on set, he may have had the last laugh as scenes for the North Pole were shot during the chilly winter months in England.

Time spent in the "North Pole” brought out the holiday spirit in Vince Vaughn. "Christmas is about spending time with people you love, not about punishing those who have been naughty,” declares Vaughn. "This film shows that there are no naughty kids, just misunderstood kids. Even a mischievous man-child like Fred deserves a chance to do right, and every kid deserves a gift on Christmas.”

Like a family getting together to celebrate the holidays, the cast and filmmakers gathered around to achieve a common goal. "It is an extraordinary opportunity to work with all of the talented people who have contributed to the making of ‘Fred Claus,'” says Dobkin. "From the outstanding cast to the amazing craftspeople, I couldn't have imagined a better way to tell such a fun story about family.”

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