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Four Christmases in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Four Christmases

Vince Vaughn • Reese Witherspoon • Kristen Chenoweth • Mary Steenburgen
DIRECTOR: Seth Gordon

Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon THE CONCEPT:
Every Christmas Day, unmarried couple Kate (Witherspoon) and Brad (Vaughn) have on a holiday trip, avoiding their crazy families. But this year the airport is closed, and they are forced to go to the home of Brad’s father, Kate’s mother, Brad’s mother and Kate’s father.

U.S. RELEASE: November 27 2008, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13


Director Seth Gordon“I thought the anxiety that you experience thinking of all the families you have to go to [at Christmas] was an incredibly universal one. It’s very contemporary too, especially that each of these protagonists had divorced families, and I think that’s something a lot of Americans think about, how am I going to get it all done in one day, who comes first, who comes second?”

Vince Vaughn as  Brad, ready to enjoy Christmas in the sun“The truth is, no matter how much you think you know a person, you can always learn more by watching them interact with family and seeing their childhoods revealed. Parents and siblings really know how to push those buttons.”

REESE WITHERSPOON on how she prepares for the holidays:
“There are many stages. The first is absolute panic. I walked into Starbucks last week and they were playing Christmas music, and I was like, ‘Turn it off. I’m not ready. I have to get through Thanksgiving first.’ Then it starts with the parties, and that’s when the family starts trickling in. And you finally get rid of the family, then you get to sleep for a few day, then it’s New Year’s!”

MARY STEENBURGEN (Marilyn – Kate’s mother):
Kristen Chenoweth and Mary Steenburgen “My house is like the Four Christmases house at the end, where people are together, because there’s my kids and their friends, and my ex-husband and his kids, it’s pretty crazy and everybody has a dog and everybody brings the dogs, so it’s riotous, silly and funny and we’re deeply immature and have a great time.”

KRISTIN CHENOWETH (Courtney – Kate’s sister):
“I don’t look at it as trying to cope. I really love Christmas so much. I’m the dork that gets depressed when it’s over. I sort of have a reverse Four Christmases experience. I can’t wait and when it’s over it’s so sad for me.”

GORDON on the reports that Reese and Vince were fighting on the set:
“I found it a bit silly. I think there were a handful of delicious rumors that circulated that had nothing to do with our experience on set, because my experience with them is they had real electric chemistry the bulk of the time, it was really a lot of fun.”

“First of all, I don’t know where all that came from. Every co-star I ever work with... I’m either having an affair with him, I’m about to get married to him, we’re having a baby or we absolutely cannot stand each other. You can’t just get along with people and work with them, there has to be some sort of drama. We got along great and we were very good friends. We’re partners on this movie, we decided to produce it together and we rewrote the script together.”

“Reese’s reactions and comebacks were easy to play off, because she comes into it with such an understanding of her character that she can be comfortable playing around in the moment. Improv isn’t just saying whatever comes into your head when the cameras roll; you have to have a game plan. It’s about figuring out what serves the scene.”

“Vince is a force of Nature, an incredible talent and always present in every moment, in every scene, you never know exactly how the intonation is going to be, but it’s not improv. He’s a detective of funny, and he’s always trying to find the funniest way to put something, and he works with other actors in the scene to make it that way.”

Height difference between Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn“They couldn’t make Vince smaller. We tried. He’s 6’5” and I’m 5’2”, so he’s over a foot taller than me. We had a very funny scene, I don’t know if it’s in the movie anymore, but we’re in bed and at the end of the scene he rolls over on me and goes to sleep. It was like a tree trunk had landed on me. I kept going, ‘Timber!’ It was a challenge, especially the kissing scene. It was hard to get up there to kiss him, but we worked it out.”

STEENBURGEN on the day she was told there isn’t a Santa Claus:
“I was eight, and I was in the backyard of my house by a sandbox and this girl down the street, who didn’t even live there, her aunt lived there, said something like, ‘You know your parents are Santa Claus, don’t you?’ I remember trying to cope with this, my whole life flashed before my eyes, every lie I’d been told, and I suddenly let out the biggest wail of my life and I ran inside to ask my mother. My poor mom desperately started trying to talk about the spirit of Christmas.”

“I have a brother who is four and a half years older than me, and I was always in The Nutcracker every Christmas, and so after the ballet he was pretty bitter, and we came home and I guess it got to him one year and he said, ‘There is no Santa,’ and I remember thinking that he was a liar and going to my parents and they told me what Christmas was really about, and I was like, ‘So is it the same with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy?’ And it all came crashing down.”

“What, are you suggesting there’s not a Santa Claus? Is that what you’re saying? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t want to hear it!”

All the fun of the Nativity...

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Warner Bros Pictures
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #701, December 2008 cover

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