Christmas Eve is probably the busiest day of the year. As families gather to share the holiday, frazzled celebrators rush to buy last-minute gifts, cook meals, and plan festivities that they've inevitably procrastinated. So in the heat of the hustle and bustle, the prospect of getting stuck in an elevator all night long seems like something straight out of a horror movie.
Yet, that's exactly what happens in Christmas Eve, which stars Sir Patrick Stewart and Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder. It's not a horror movie, says Christmas Eve director Mitch Davis, "but it is dramatic . . . it's also a little comedic and—dare I say it?—transcendent." Davis, an active Latter-day Saint, also directed the 2001 Disney film The Other Side of Heaven, which brought the missionary adventures of Elder John H. Groberg to the big screen.
"I love making movies with a spiritual subtext, and I love making movies for a wider, not entirely LDS audience," Davis said. "Christmas is the one time you can make a movie with a spiritual message and get away with it in mainstream Hollywood."
Despite its scheduled nationwide release on December 4th, Christmas Eve is not an entirely mainstream Hollywood production. It was picked up by a mainstream distributor, but it was financed and produced independently. Talk show host Larry King and his wife Shawn were the primary producers of the film.
Davis called the casting process "nerve-wracking." In some situations, actors come to the producers, looking for work. But when casting a major motion picture, the tables are turned. "You're begging them to be in your movie because they'll bring an audience with them," Davis said. "So you send them your script and hope that something about their character's dialogue and scenes will move them to want to be involved. It's a very humbling experience."
The script for Christmas Eve, a story of six groups of New Yorkers who spend Christmas Eve stuck in elevators, interested Sir Patrick Stewart, one of his generation's most distinguished and accomplished actors. "It was a dream working with him," Davis said. "He is such a kind, wise presence, and yet he deferred to me at every turn. He apologized profusely whenever he missed a cue or forgot his lines. I wanted to say, 'Hey, it's okay! You're Sir Patrick!'"
Check out the trailer for this new holiday drama below!