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Tim Allen Shares Cold Feelings on 'Santa 3': 'We Are Infected by Our Success'

Tim Allen has returned to the North Pole to reprise his role as Christmas icon in Santa Claus , Miniseries premiering in November on Disney+. But before he gets close to a beard or fake belly, he has notes, especially about the direction of the franchise after the latest installment, 450 of Santa 3: Escape Clause . Below, Allen opens up about why he feels they’re “overrunning the track” on that one, why he’s so proud of the series, and the future of his work on sledding.

Disney Santa Claus starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin. The series follows his struggle to keep up with the demands of work and serve his family. After discovering a way to retire, Scott considers stepping down as Santa and looking for a worthy successor so he can be a better father and husband. Disney/Justin Stephens

How did you get your Santa suit on?

As I grew up in my acting career, everything was on paper. When streaming increased the demand for content, I knew it was coming, so I said, “Show me some words.” It took a long time to have this exchange. I thought we were over the runway on the third runway and I wanted to control it. [I said], “If you have another story, let’s get together with some writers,” and they ended up with Jack Burdett, who wrote The Last Man Standing . I know what he thinks, and he’s one of the most greedy writers I’ve ever met. You could say, “I don’t like this or this,” and the next day, everything was different, and he did that.

He did the same thing about it and said, “What do you think about this?” I’d say, “I don’t like it,” and it disappeared or expanded, I would come back and say, “This is awesome.” We can all answer the question of why Santa fell off the roof. It starts there. Why the beginning of the movie? It brings us back to the beginning. what happened to that guy? It opened a wonderful door and set the stage for [the series].

Let’s go back to Santa’s runway Red article 3 . I rewatched the movie to talk to you, the tone of that movie was different from the other two…

What happened is that we were infected by our own success. [1994’s Santa Clause ] is big, but we have about $11 for special effects. [1994 of Santa Claus 2 ] is an extension of it, but now we can put lights on the windows because we have more money to make. Third, we only have money. The story gets bigger and bigger. The fact that Marty Short and I never did a funny scene together, I’m still going um . That was the funniest person I’ve ever met, and besides me, we never had the chance to do a really big scene together.

I said, “We’ve got to explain it, and then it boils down to magic. Let’s go back to the beginning,” and Jack and his team — great for me — – Added several scenes to really let you see what’s going on at Christmas. It’s a very simple, wonderful scene with all the other Santas.

Tim Allen appears in Disney’s Santa Claus. Disney/James Clark

The premise of this series is also raised Got this question about Santa retiring because you recruit someone else to take your place. I’m curious if you’ve thought about how long you want to be on the sled, so to speak?

I keep thinking about it. Just this week, and I haven’t been to my concert, some final editing has been done. I’m building two hot rods that I love to make, but they’re on hold. I haven’t done much in the past four weeks, and I’ve done it a lot ( scratching my head ). I love what I do. I don’t know what the word “retirement” means.

I see it like Hector Elizondo, a good friend of mine who was at Last Man Standing play on. I think he is 300 Getting old, you know, and women saying, “God, look at that guy’s body, wow!” I mean, he’s structurally, mentally, physically where I want him to be. I want to go out like this. He still likes to work. He just performed for us in my circle. I love what I do. I love doing stand-up comedy. I love making hot rods. I love designing artwork. I love the creative things I do. I don’t know what I’ll do if I retire, like play golf every day? Everyone says, “You gotta go fishing in Mexico.” Put a hook through an animal’s lips and drag it into the water? Yes, I didn’t know about that. So, I want to [retire], but I want to know, do I want to go out like a lion?

You have been a successful Disney partner for a long time. I was just thinking of you when I saw the news that Home Improvement is now back on Hulu. Everyone in Hollywood is talking about contracts and how deals have changed in the era of streaming. With the Hulu deal and Disney+’s new streaming series, how do you feel about the deal?

This is a loading issue. If I’m not happy with that, I won’t do it. It’s not my motivation. I was lucky and made some great deals early so my bill was paid. I can build stupid cars in my shop and take care of all my charities and my family unit. I’m a businessman, but I’m not sure I’m a true accountant type. If I joined any political party, I would join what my grandmother called, “Who’s going to pay?” That’s the party I was in. How are you going to pay?

I don’t know how, they say “amortized”. For movies, it’s simple, and for TV shows, it’s Nielsen. I don’t know about this streaming thing. I don’t know how they did it. The financial part of the creative side is hard to say, “You can pay us more.” I don’t know if they can pay us more. I don’t know what you are doing. They hide it. This is a new world.

I know someone is interested in [Santa] because it’s good, and the reason it’s good , because we do our best to make something fun and exciting for our audience. This is the only reason we do this. How they pay everyone is a financial game because I don’t know anything about streaming stuff other than creatively it’s actually making a mix of multicam TV shows and movies. We take some pictures with [multiple] cameras. I’m the director and I’m watching what we’re doing. Are we going to cut to other shots so we don’t have to move the main camera? They still move the main camera. So, I know for a fact that it doesn’t cost them like a movie. Who knows what the other side of this thing is? This is the business side, this is new territory.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

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Matilda Lawler, Elizabeth Allen-Dick, Austin Kane, Tim Allen and Elizabeth Mitchell Appears in a scene from Disney Santa Claus. Disney/James Clark

A version of this story first appeared in the November 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. 2022Click here to subscribe.

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