Dwayne Johnson Reveals Who's Playing Santa Claus In His Christmas Action Movie Red One

J.K. Simmons in Palm Springs
(Image credit: Hulu)

Following his long-awaited debut as Black Adam in the DC Extended Universe, Dwayne Johnson is in the midst of leaving his mark on the holiday season the best way he knows how: by kicking ass. Not in real life, mind you; The Rock has a Christmas action movie coming up called Red One, and earlier this week, we got our first look at him and Chris Evans in the 2023 film release. Now Johnson has revealed who will be playing Santa Claus in Red One: J.K. Simmons.

Although J.K. Simmons’ involvement in Red One was first reported by Deadline earlier this week, no details were revealed about his role at the time. Well, it didn’t take long for that mystery to be solved, as Dwayne Johnson shared two pictures on Instagram of him next to Simmons dressed as the jolly bearded man in red on the Red One set. Check them out!

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Now that Red One has begun filming, the curtain’s started to be pulled back a bit on what we can expect from this action movie that Amazon Prime Video subscribers will be able to stream. Chris Evans shared that his and Dwayne Johnson’s characters are respectively named Jack O’Malley and Callum Drift, and now we know that Red One does indeed bring Santa Claus into the proceedings. How does Callum cross paths with the toymaker who travels around the world once a year to deliver his wares to children? We’ll have to wait until late 2023 to learn the answer, but it sounds like Johnson and Simmons are having a blast working together so far. 

Interestingly enough, Red One will be J.K. Simmons’ second time performing Santa Claus, the first being in the animated Netflix movie Klaus. Simmons as a live-action Santa Claus doesn’t cut the same kind of figure we’re used to seeing from this beloved character, but maybe that’s because we’ll see him beating up bad guys alongside Callum Drift in Red One. After all, we’ve seen how ripped Simmons got when he was playing Commissioner Gordon in Justice League, so if he got into similar shape for Red One, why not pull him into a few action scenes?

Red One’s cast also includes Bonnie Hunt, who will reportedly be by J.K. Simmons’ side as Mrs. Claus, as well as Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Liu, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Nick Kroll and Kristofer Hivju in undisclosed roles. Behind the scenes, Dwayne Johnson has regrouped with some familiar collaborators, with Jake Kasdan, who helmed the two most recent Jumanji movies, sitting in the director’s chair, and Chris Morgan, who wrote six of the main Fast & Furious movies and the Hobbs & Shaw spinoff, penning the script. Kasdan and Morgan are also attached as producers alongside Johnson, Hiram Garcia (who came up with Red One’s story), Dany Garcia and Melvin Mar.

Amazon doesn’t have a specific 2023 release date set for Red One yet, but we’ll pass that information along when it comes in, along with any other notable updates on how the movie is coming along. In the meantime, take a look at the best Amazon movies that can be streamed right now.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.