Stephen Merchant Shares Dream To Work With This A Boy Called Christmas Costar, And Honestly, This Needed To Happen Yesterday

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: 

I didn’t get to go on set, because they filmed on the snowy wastelands in Eastern Europe and other places and I wasn’t there for that. So, I only met some of the actors the other night during the U.K. premiere. In fact, Henry [Lawfull], who plays the young Nikolas, the central role, it was the first time I met him, even though I feel like I know him because I’ve been his best friend on screen for a year doing the voice. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet the other actors.

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: 

I would have loved to work with many of them, but obviously in particular I would have loved to work with Kristen Wiig, who as a comedy actor myself, she’s just a genius and just absolutely brilliant. So the idea of being able to do a scene with her, play around and improvise is still a dream of mine. Hopefully, one day that will happen. Sadly in this instance, I never got to meet her.

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! 

Kristen Wiig as Aunt Carlotta in A Boy Called Christmas

(Image credit: Netflix)

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. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.