Everyone has a ritual that gets them in the Christmas spirit. For some, it’s going Christmas shopping or looking forward to spending quality time with their family. For Ryan Reynolds, it’s watching the classic Christmas drama It’s A Wonderful Life, especially when he’s in a “crappy mood.” As for Will Ferrell, it’s making eggnog at home. “When it’s fermented and explodes, that puts me into the holiday season,” shares Will. For me, it’s similar to Ryan’s–the good ol’ ritual of binge-watching Christmas films. Except it’s usually Home Alone or A Holiday.
This year, it looks like OTT platforms are giving serious competition to Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé in terms of defrosting. Heartwarming Christmas films are ringing in and getting us in the Christmas spirit much earlier than usual, giving us enough time to watch the new and old. Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol has been an inspiration for many filmmakers. This year, Sean Anders of the Daddy’s Home fame decides to give it a fresh spin. Enter: Spirited, a musical featuring Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell (who share screen space for the very first time) along with Octavia Spencer and Sunita Mani. With a cast this dynamic, it’s bound to get us excited.
The plot of the film? Ghosts of Past (Sunita), Present (Will) and Yet To Come (Loren Woods, and voiced by Tracy Morgan) haunt a cruel being for the good of humanity. As Will rightly explains in the film: “We haunt someone, change them into a better person and then sing about it.” And the person they end up confronting is Clint Briggs (played by Ryan) who is considered “unredeemable.” Ghost of Christmas Present takes his case as a challenge to make him into a better person and turns his life upside down when he makes an entrance into his life. Watching two of cinema’s comedy icons exchange banter and emotions is undoubtedly a visual treat.
Expect unexpected twists and turns that leave you with a feel-good factor. The singing and theatrical performances certainly deserve a mention. There are times when musicals tend to feel dragged with multiple songs but Spirited is an exception. It blends the beautifully choreographed songs pretty seamlessly and allows you as a viewer to follow the story.
I asked the cast what made them opt for a musical in the first place and what fascinated them the most about it. Here’s what they had to say.
Ryan Reynolds: I love the original story. As I’ve gotten older–which tends to happen–I want to work with people I both admire and friends that I love. A lot of it was driven by that. Going to Boston and spending an entire summer there in winter clothing, you may as well do it with people that you love. And I love these guys that I’m so lucky and privileged to sit here with. I’ve been an admirer of them for a long time. Octavia and I have worked together before, but this is my first time working with the great Will Ferrell and the great Sunita here. So I was quite excited about that.
Will Ferrell: I think for me and probably for all of us, it was something that was for the same reasons that Ryan has brought up. But also, it was very frightening to take this on. And I think that challenge to actually sing and dance in a more legitimate way than I’ve ever done was something that was really appealing to at least dive into and give it a shot.
Octavia Spencer: I would say the same for everything that they’ve said and add–from my perspective, knowing that I would get to work with not only amazing actors, but two of the biggest iconic comedic actors in the world and that I would get to be in the room and be a part of that, and watch them sing and dance as well. It was fun, and it was a challenge for all of us. But we all bonded getting through that.
Sunita Mani: Working with legends is quite appealing. That was a huge, amazing opportunity to soak in the talents, groundedness, humor and support. They were so friendly and supportive. I was suspicious because when I would leave the set I would go home and wonder, “When is Will Ferrell going to flip a table? It’s too good to be true.” It was an incredible experience. And honestly, the story being told in a new fun way is something you’ll love. It’s an old tale turned new.
If watching Christmas films gets you in the holiday spirit, make sure you add Spirited (currently streaming on Apple TV+) to your Holiday watch list.
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