Among Netflix’s many original holiday offerings this year is A Boy Called Christmas, which tells the fantastical tale of Santa Claus in his youth. The epic streaming release features an impressive host of talent including Harry Potter’s Maggie Smith, The Hunger Games’ Toby Jones and The Shape of Water’s Sally Hawkins. It was surely a dream come true for its young lead Henry Lawfull to work with so many great talents, but for his sidekick mouse, played by Stephen Merchant, he missed out on what could have been an all-time great comedic duo.
Stephen Merchant is, of course, the co-creator of the original version of The Office and Extras, along with other comedic endeavors. In A Boy Called Christmas, he voices the role of Miika the Mouse, who a young Father Christmas has in his pocket for the entire adventure. When CinemaBlend spoke to Merchant about the role, he said the following about the unique experience:
Because Stephen Merchant is one of the few animated characters in the film, he had a vastly different experience than the rest of the cast. As he said, he didn’t get to meet his co-stars, even though he’d worked with Henry Lawfull in particular closely from afar. Merchant said there is one cast mate from A Boy Called Christmas he’s especially dying to work with. In his words:
If you’re aware of Stephen Merchant’s comedic style and Kristen Wiig’s sensibilities, you know this is a comedic match made in heaven. If you put the two of them together, they would have us belly laughing until our chest hurt. To our surprise, he’s not only never worked with her, they haven’t even met. Ever? What!
In A Boy Called Christmas, Kristen Wiig plays Aunt Carlotta, another scene-stealing antagonist who serves as Nikolas’ temporary guardian early in the film. According to Pop Culture, the co-writer/director of the movie, Gil Kenan was a huge Saturday Night Live fan, along with just generally loving all of the actress’ work, and he reached out to her for the role, based on the character in Matt Haig’s book of the same name.
Kristen Wiig was apparently looking for a different kind of role when he approached her and the stars aligned. There’s some seriously inspired casting going on in A Boy Called Christmas, but wow, does a Stephen Merchant and Kristen Wiig collaboration still need to happen now that it’s been brought up.
YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.
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