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Jornal Art Writer Interview | Elizabeth Mitchell pushed for making Mrs. Claus believable

Part of “Old Info And News”

SANTACLAUSE2stillsElizabethMitchell_28229.jpg‘Women don’t want to think Santa has to have a skinny wife’
Actress Elizabeth Mitchell pushed for making Mrs. Claus believable.

Elizabeth Mitchell is pleased to put on the pounds to play Mrs. Claus

In her varied screen career Elizabeth Mitchell has played Linda McCartney, a ’70s supermodel, Dr. Kim Legaspi in a popular recurring role on ER and now Mrs. Santa Claus in the heartwarming The Santa Clause 2, which opened yesterday.

Tall and slim, the Dallas-born Mitchell may not look like anyone’s idea of Mrs. Santa Claus. Actually, for much of the film she plays a demanding, straitlaced high school principal, her blonde hair pulled back in a bun, who has caught the eye of Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin. Scott, who signed on to be Santa eight years earlier, has left his Santa persona behind at the North Pole and is desperately looking for a wife to fulfill a clause in his Santa Claus contract. Otherwise, he will no longer be Santa.

It’s only in the film’s last moments that Mitchell’s Carol Newman is whisked to the North Pole to become Mrs. Claus to Allen’s Santa. She’s still slender at that point. And she would have remained so if she hadn’t petitioned director Michael Lembeck to let her become a little more ample by wearing a chubby suit and prosthetics to fill out her face.

“I wanted them to do it,” she says gleefully during a stop in Boston to promote the film.

Originally The Santa Clause 2 ended with Carol marrying Allen’s Santa and then having him ride off to deliver presents on Christmas Eve with a hearty “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.” It was an ending Allen liked. “I told Michael I was happy with ending it there and just moving on. In fact, I petitioned strongly to not go there, to let the audience imagine what happened to Mrs. Claus at the end,” Allen said.
But Lembeck listened to Mitchell. Now we see her during the end credits with a plump face and body in scenes that were filmed only weeks ago.
“I campaigned for it. I wanted it really badly,” Mitchell says. “You can’t have a magnificent, gorgeous, full-blooded Santa and have him next to a scawny wife. I really think that would be inappropriate.
No skinny wife “And I also believe the women of the world don’t want to think that even Santa has to have a skinny wife, even though all the men thought the women wouldn’t like to see a chubby Mrs. Claus. They thought the women would want her to stay thin. But I disagreed heartily and it turned out that a lot of women agreed with me when they saw the film.”

During the film, Allen’s character changes back from the wiry Scott Calvin into a plump Santa and a lot of people in the audience wondered why Mitchell’s Mrs. Claus didn’t have a similar transformation.
Mitchell happily says of the larger-sized Mrs. Claus, “She’s so cute! I can’t even tell you how much I loved this character when I looked in the mirror and I saw the whole thing done. She’s so adorable!
“I sent a little Polaroid to my sister and she phoned me and said, ‘Oh my God! You are so cute!’
“It’s the only time in your life that you can look at yourself without judgments because you’re wearing all the rosthetics.
And man, oh man, oh man, even my boyfriend said, ‘You should put on some weight. You look much better.’ “

Not a prima donna Clearly, Mitchell is not what you’d call a prima donna. In fact, she hates the term and can’t abide actors who put on airs.
“I can’t stand people who act that way when they’re in this profession, which is such a huge gift in that we get to do what we do and are treated magnificently. People know I won’t take it.”
So it’s not surprising that rather than taking credit for any great insight about the way her career has developed, she pegs it all to plain old luck.
“Lucky, lucky. I think my life is unplanned. The only thing that I knew I wanted to do was to act. You know how a lot of people say, ‘I’m going to do this and this and this and by this age I’m going to do this’?
Well, I had already achieved all of the stuff I thought I was going to achieve by the age of 25, so it was like, What’ll I do now? I was making my own money. I was working as an actor and only as an actor. And I was pleased. I think lucky. There are lots of talented people out there.
There are lots of attractive people. Whatever it is about me right at that moment seemed to be a good thing. So you never know.”

Source: Projo.com – Journal Arts Writer

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Art Seavey Contributing Writer Interview About Santa Clause 2

Part of “Old Info And News”

SANTACLAUSE2stillsElizabethMitchell_28229.jpgElizabeth Mitchell stars opposite Allen. Her past credits include the mother in Frequency, Molly in Nurse Betty, and her breakthrough performance in the HBO production, Gia, opposite Angelina Jolie. She is widely known for her role as Dr. Kim Legaspi on the NBC series ER. Mitchell became involved with the project through the desire of the director. “Michael came to me, which I thought was a surprise-it’s not my usual fare. I didn’t think that I was in any way big enough. I do little movies.” Mitchell plays the role of the principal, and obviously the possible love interest of Scott Calvin [Tim Allen].

She plays it sternly and often disturbingly tough, as though she was dealing with students from Dangerous Minds. “My boyfriend was holding my hand and I swear to you he let it go. When I was playing it I thought I was just being exacting and kind of tough. Maybe I have an evil side I’m not aware of,” Mitchell said.

She has a deep admiration for Tim Allen after spending endless hours with him on the set. “I realized you’re really only as good as the person with you. And Tim is so funny,” she said. “Everything I do in that movie is just reacting to him and trying not to laugh, and in some cases trying not to cry. He actually has the ability to be truly genuine and amazing.” Mitchell was not always a star of the screen. “Money was always a problem. I worked every temp job you could possibly work,” Mitchell recalled. “I’m also a huge believer in education. I was educated up the wazoo before I actually started to work professionally.” An understatement if anything.

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OneGuysOpinion: Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell And Lembeck On “The Santa Clause 2”

Part of “Old Info And News”


Reviews by Dr. Frank Swietek

“Writers are just like potato chips–you just can’t get enough of them,” said an expansive, voluble Tim Allen as he lounged in a Dallas hotel suite munching on cashews during a promotional tour for “The Santa Clause 2.” Then, in jocular exaggeration he added, in egomaniacal-producer tones, “I like that! Somebody write that down!”

Allen was in town with co-star Elizabeth Mitchell and director Michael Lembeck, and was discussing the difficulties in getting the script right for the sequel to his 1994 feature debut, which scored big at the boxoffice and is a continuing draw in annual television showings. “It gets better ratings on the ABC Sunday Night Movie every year,” he interjected. “It’s one of the few movies that’s ever done that. It’s becoming a classic.”

That’s why Allen was so intent on making “Santa Clause 2” a worthy successor to the earlier film. “For me,” he explained, “[the greatest danger is] that you’ll screw up the original, which I had to remind Disney they make more money on each year… So I kept telling them, I kept reminding them, [about] sequels that work… I said I knew what it takes, and you’ve got to trust me.” As Allen described the long, drawn-out writing process, which he said–perhaps seriously–eventually involved sixteen contributors, it was touch-and-go to the very end. “The daunting part is telling the studio, ‘No, I don’t want the money and I don’t want the work,’ when I could have just said yes to both and not care. And I don’t want to sound all altruistic. It’s just that I love movies, and I like watching movies that make sense…. [And late in the process] we gave up. We got to the point where we all got frustrated. They greenlit the script, and I said I don’t want to do this. But we pushed through.”

One thing that helped was Lembeck’s joining the team. “He came in in mid-process,” Allen said, “when it was just in flux. The studio and I were really disagreeing on which direction to take it, if we were going to take it at all. We really didn’t think they were going to do this–we were so far apart. And then Michael came in”–along with still more new writers–“…and made the thing. He came to the set every day with an attitude that was great.”

The director, making his big-screen debut after a good deal of TV work on series like “Friends,” and Mitchell, who plays the hard-edged school principal whom Allen’s Scott Calvin romances (to get her to marry him before Christmas so that he can remain Santa Claus), were no less enthusiastic about Allen. Lembeck responded to a query whether his star had been as rambunctious on the set as he was in the interview by saying, “Every day, every single day, and if you couldn’t keep up with this–it was 6:30am to 6:30pm just like this, screaming and hollering and mayhem every day.” But, he quickly added, “We finished on time, under budget, we had no second-unit shooting, we did everything ourselves, and [the studio is] very happy with us.”

Mitchell, a native Dallasite, credited Lembeck with her casting. “I guess Michael saw me on ‘E.R.,’” she said. “He came to me, and he was adorable, and he was excited, and he was as passionate as I like people to be talking about things that they love. And then I met Tim, and he had me in stitches, and then he had me in tears… [Tim’s] the funniest man anyone knows, and Michael’s the warmest–he’s amazing.” She added: “This is a labor of love for these guys. When you think about it, any sequel could have been done, and it would have made a lot of money, because it’s ‘Santa Clause 2.’ But they chose not to do that–they chose to do something that meant a lot to them–they hand-picked everybody for what they thought it would bring to the movie. It made it a joy.” Playing against Allen, she added, was extremely easy. “What I feel with Tim is, if you’ve ever played tennis with a really good tennis player who’s playing just for you, and you have your racket up and basically you hit every ball, that’s what Tim did for me…. I held up my racket, and everything he threw at me bounced back eventually. I just kept holding up my racket.”

One thing all three agreed on was the joy of working with all the children who played elves in Santa’s North Pole factory. “As crotchety and cranky as I could get [putting on the makeup],” Allen said, “as soon as I walked out of the tent there’s children going, ‘Santa, Santa!’ They thought they were working with Santa.” Lembeck added, “For them it was fantasy-fulfillment…. It was the most patient, attentive, enthusiastic, kind group of children one could ever be blessed with–350 kids just being magnificent during the course of the day, and it’s 100o on the set.” Mitchell chimed in: “They thought I was Mrs. Claus. They hung on me, they wanted to hug me all the time. I came from a big family–it wasn’t a problem. I thought it was great. I could have five kids on either arm and be perfectly fine. I loved it.”

And many family audiences are likely to love “The Santa Claus 2.”


Elizabeth Mitchell - Interview - Old Info And News - Projects - Santa Clause 2

The Sun Herald Interview About Santa Clause 2

Part of “Old Info And News”

SANTACLAUSE2stillsElizabethMitchell_28229.jpgAllen also seems to like good-looking co-stars.
Mitchell, slim, blond, beautiful and 5 foot 8-1/2 in her stocking feet, doesn’t look or sound like the quintessential apple-cheeked ho-ho-ho homemaker.
“Stick around for the credits,” advises Mitchell, an outgoing Dallas girl. “Santa explains to her that there’s going to be a huge metamorphosis. I add on about 80 pounds. There’s a little bit of cheeks, a little bit of something here and there, capes and her hair in a bun,” she says, laughing.

So how does Santa kiss?
Mitchell grins. “It was really fun to kiss Santa, so soft. Not tickly, just soft,” she smiles again at the memory and makes a circle with her thumb and forefinger.
Mitchell’s character, Carol Newman, is the high school principal who keeps busting Charlie, Santa’s son. Mitchell says she modeled her no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners character after some of her own teachers.
“I only did well in school because I had tough teachers,” Mitchell explains. “She’s not evil. She just wants them to behave.”

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Telegram & Gazette: ‘Clause 2’ gives Mitchell the gift of stardom

Part of “Old Info And News”

‘Clause 2’ gives Mitchell the gift of stardom
Richard Duckett

santa clause 2 premiere elizabeth mitchell cast hq (4).jpg

Elizabeth Mitchell, right, and Tim Allen share a laugh at the Los Angeles premiere of “The Santa Clause 2” earlier this week.

In ”The Santa Clause 2,” Scott Calvin (played by Tim Allen) has to find a Mrs. Claus if he wants to continue to be Mr. Claus.
The cold-but-highly-efficient high school principal Carol Newman might seem an unlikely candidate for the gregarious Santa/Calvin on his return to Earth from the North Pole. Especially since Newman is taking a tough line on the school misbehavior of Calvin’s son.

But you never know. After all, it’s Christmas (actually, the charming and fanciful ”The Santa Clause 2” will be released nationally tomorrow). One thing is for certain: Newman is the major starring role of Elizabeth Mitchell’s career to date. So there’s one nice present for the pleasant, tall-but-delicate-looking 32-year-old.

That said, she has already had an interesting and busy career. Her first part was in ”Alice in the Looking Glass” at the Dallas Theater Center. Mitchell was 7 at the time.
”I was pretty terrified, and then all of a sudden I wasn’t anymore,’‘ she said during an interview at The Ritz Carlton Boston Common hotel, where she was in town recently to promote ”The Santa Clause 2.”

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Santa Clause 2 Premiere | North pole position

Part of “Old Info And News”

santa clause 2 premiere pp hq (7).jpgSanta’ sequel touts unusually prompt preem

HOLLYWOOD — It was that rarest of premieres, one that started on time. With execs Robert Iger and Dick Cook among those pulling a Disney Daily Double of “The Santa Clause 2” premiere in Hollywood at 1 p.m. and the World Series Game 7 in Anaheim at 5 p.m., punctuality was a preem-inent virtue.

Of course, such unexpected timeliness threw off some attendees.

“Normally, if a premiere starts at 1, I get there at 1, because I’ll still have half an hour before it starts,” said Disney’s Nina Jacobson. Not Sunday, when curtains parted at 1:04.

Svelte star Elizabeth Mitchell said her favorite part came in closing credits, when her now-married character is puffed up by “about 70 pounds. I thought it looked awesome. She’s Mrs. Claus; she has to have a lap for kids to sit on.”

Among others at the El Capitan Theater screening and Highlands nightclub party were pic’s stars Tim Allen, Spencer Breslin, Judge Reinhold, Aisha Tyler and Jay Thomas; producers Bobby Newmyer, Brian Reilly and Jeffrey Silver; and director Michael Lembeck.

Mouse House brass Chuck Viane, Oren Aviv and Bruce Hendricks joined guests Dakota Fanning, Tom Green, Norman Lear, Dylan McDermott and Lou Diamond Phillips.


Elizabeth Mitchell - Interview - Old Info And News - Projects - Santa Clause 2

The Movie Chicks Interview About Santa Clause 2

Part of “Old Info And News”

SANTACLAUSE2stillsElizabethMitchell_28229.jpgIt was a little hard to keep Tim Allen and Michael Lembeck on track during the roundtable. They walked in, sat down, and started in on their own routine. After 5 minutes or so of banter (hilarious, yes – but impossible to transcribe), they got down to business (sort of) and answered our questions. After round 1, we met with Elizabeth Mitchell, who was like the calm after the storm. She’s delightful and easy to talk to. It’s been eight years since the original Santa Claus movie was made and these people all talk about the sequel like a labor of love.

So what was it like being on the set with Tim every day?
We’re both really lucky because I’ve been such a chameleon my whole life, so I tend to hang back and kind of watch people whereas he’s just woooh. But I don’t need to stand on the tables, so it’s okay. Mainly our relationship is this [Tim talking, me giggling]. Every once in awhile he’ll throw in whatever it is that makes you feel great, then you giggle in high octaves. I have never laughed so much in my life. He’s wonderful. He’s a good man, too. It was a joy to be with him – I can’t say enough.

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Elizabeth Mitchell - Interview - Old Info And News - Projects - Santa Clause 2