Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I Don't Clean Up Reindeer Poo. That's Not in My Job Description; from Steering a Sleigh to Impressing His Young Children, Rafe Spall, Star of New Festive Flick Get Santa, from Steering a Sleigh to Impressing His Young Children, Rafe Spall, Star of New Festive Flick Get Santa, and Co-Star Kit Connor, Tell Keeley Bolger about Christmas Spirit and Dealing with Flatulent Reindeers BIG SCREEN

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I Don't Clean Up Reindeer Poo. That's Not in My Job Description; from Steering a Sleigh to Impressing His Young Children, Rafe Spall, Star of New Festive Flick Get Santa, from Steering a Sleigh to Impressing His Young Children, Rafe Spall, Star of New Festive Flick Get Santa, and Co-Star Kit Connor, Tell Keeley Bolger about Christmas Spirit and Dealing with Flatulent Reindeers BIG SCREEN

Article excerpt

Byline: Keeley Bolger

FOR someone who started working on festive flick Get Santa back in January, it's no wonder actor Rafe Spall has given this Christmas such careful consideration.

He's not, for instance, bothering with a stocking on the fireplace this year.

"I have a skip at the end of my bed," dead pans the 31-year-old, known for his roles in One Day, Life Of Pi and I Give It A Year. "I go one bigger than a sack. I get my skip delivered and it usually gets filled."

Whether his 'skip' is filled with socks or the latest version of his best ever present, a handheld Dyson dustbuster ("I use it every day, it's changed my life") Spall was given a memorable gift while he was on the set of the film, which is released on Friday, December 5. "I enjoyed all the scenes where we fly a sleigh," recalls the father-of-two, who is the son of Mr Turner star Timothy Spall. "There's not many times in your life when you can say you've flown a sleigh. That was a thrill."

Jim as Santa " Thrilling too was the chance to work with Iris actor Jim Broadbent, who takes the title role. A fitting part for someone who Spall reckons is "related to Santa".

Likewise, Spall's 10-year-old co-star Kit Connor, who plays his son Tom, was just as wide-eyed.

"I thought he really was Santa," exclaims the schoolboy actor, who has also starred in Casualty and Sky1 comedy series Chickens. I walked into the room on set, saw him and thought, 'Where's Jim?'" While Broadbent is the hero from the get-go, Spall plays hapless dad Steve, who's a different kind of victor.

Knowing kids After spending two years locked away in the slammer, Steve is desperate to do right by his ' to be able watch really nice Rafe Spall nine-year-old son Tom. So when Santa crash lands in London and finds himself doing porridge in Steve's old prison, it's up to father and son to break Santa out in time for Christmas.

Far-fetched? Maybe. But Broadbent immediately bought into the magic of the story.

"Within the film, Santa has his own reality, which is unique and special and beyond anything any of the other characters have," explains the actor who previously voiced Santa in 2011 Christmas animation Arthur Christmas.

"Everyone else lives in the real world and they are confronted by this weird being. They have one job, of how to react to this strange man, and I have another job of how to consistently be Santa as we know him." And Bristolian director Christopher Smith, who also cast Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker as Tom's mum Alison, Warwick Davis as prisoner Sally and Stephen Graham as the streetwise Barber, had yet another job in showing Santa in a new light.

"My favourite scene is where Jim Broadbent has cornrows in his hair and is walking out [in the prison corridor] to Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A," chuckles Smith, who spent four years "in Christmas" working on the film.

"The idea was to have Jim as this utter innocent, going to prison and gradually learning to be cool."While Santa's inmates have to adjust to seeing the cheery festive figure behind bars - and occasionally strutting about in his 'street' threads - in real life, the cast had to acquaint themselves with the animals on set.

Broadbent Claus "The reindeer were one of the most important things about Get Santa for me," says Connor, who lives in Surrey with his parents and older siblings.

"I befriended them. The reindeer that played Dasher was called Combo and we were best friends. It was a really unusual friendship, obviously, but we took a couple of selfies and stuff."

Although Spall doesn't go as far as to say he was firm friends with the antlered animals, he was rather taken with them by the end of the shoot. …

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