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In a new interview with Vulture, Krumholtz reveals that his fan-favorite The Santa Clause character, the grumpy yet endearing elf Bernard, actually had a significant role in the third installment of the Christmas comedy. After appearing in both the 1994 original and 2002 sequel The Santa Clause 2 as the head of Santa’s (Allen) toy workshop, he said “the story about my scheduling is true, but somehow also untrue” when explaining his absence in the 2006 movie.
At the time, Krumholtz was starring in CBS crime drama Numbers, but he asserts he was willing to make his schedule fit filming for both the movie and show, had his character not gotten “devalued” in the script.
“Bernard was in the third movie. They sent me the script, I had a pretty significant role. We did work out the schedule, which was going to be hellish on me, but I was going to make it work. And it was all set to go,” he explained. “But I would say that the character got devalued a little bit and I couldn’t in good conscience do it.”
While Krumholtz says he thinks “the first two are really special,” with the first Santa Clause being a “classic,” the third movie, for him, is “not the same.” Still, he has fond feelings about the legacy of The Santa Clause films he was part of.
“It’s wild to be part of something that’s lasted this long, that plays every single year and has become tradition in people’s homes,” he said. “I could never have imagined that I’d be having this conversation years later.”
The actor was 16 years old when The Santa Clause — where recent divorcé and father Scott Calvin is recruited to be the new man in red after he accidentally scares the then-current Santa, causing him to fall off a roof — first hit theaters in November 1994. While some fans assumed that Santa had died after falling off the roof, Krumholtz says he didn’t see it that way.
“I never saw him as dying,” he says. “He falls off the roof, hurts himself badly and disappears magically. I don’t know, you call that dying?”
Either way, the actor enjoyed the film for its narrative around family and divorce. “I love that it’s about divorce,” Krumholtz says. “It’s really about divorce at its core. I thought that really grounds the film. So no matter what you see in it after that point, once the film earns its foundation as a divorce comedy, then it becomes okay to have animatronic reindeer and little Jewish elves running around.”
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