Tommy Wirkola said the 'big heart' of his Christmas action movie Violent Night gave him the freedom to push boundaries with his blood-soaked action sequences.
The film stars David Harbour as Santa Claus, who accesses his past as a fearless warrior in order to defend a family held hostage on Christmas Eve by mercenaries seeking to steal millions of dollars.
Violent Night is available to watch in UK cinemas from 2 December.
TOM BEASLEY: Did you feel any pressure, I guess, going into this, making a Christmas film--
TOMMY WIRKOLA: I think--
TOM BEASLEY: --because if you make a Christmas film, people could watch that every single year.
TOMMY WIRKOLA: Oh, yeah, for sure. And that's something-- but that was also actually what drew me to it the most. When they sent it to me, they said it was like [? "Direwood" ?] Santa Claus. And it's like, oh, OK, that sounds cool. But you know, it could go both ways. But when I read the script, I really loved how it felt like a Christmas movie and how it had a big heart.
And I felt like if we can get that right, we can go as crazy as we want on the rest. But no, it is certainly a daunting thing of-- hopefully, you can join a good company of movies that you can watch every year. When the kids have gone to bed, you can put this one on.
TOM BEASLEY: Definitely. And I wanted to ask about the action and the violence because, I guess, it's finding a level, right, because you don't want it to be so nasty that people can't enjoy their Christmas.
TOMMY WIRKOLA: Yeah. No, for sure. Again, tone-- it comes back to tone and having fun with it. Then it's a fantastical world, obviously, a world that gives you more freedom. But no, like an example is-- is a scene where there's a scene in the barn where Santa takes on 25 mercenaries with a sledgehammer.
And that scene was supposed to be-- first, when we made the film, we were supposed to be with no score, no-- just sound effects, hammer, him going in out of shadows like Batman, taking on these guys, doing horrific things with his hammer. [CHUCKLES] But when we cut it together, we realized, you know what, this is actually-- it's too much. It's too violent.
So we put in-- we just put in Bryan Adams "Christmas Time" on it, which is a huge Christmas song where I grew up. And it just made that scene funny and charming and, yes, violent, but with kind of a sense of fun underneath it. So yeah, it's always about finding that right balance.
TOM BEASLEY: And you've got to find some new weaponry to use if you make a sequel.
TOMMY WIRKOLA: Yes. That's-- that would be a tricky part because I feel like we used any-- every single Christmas decoration and ornament in this one. But I'm sure there's-- there's some more stuff to be-- to be explored.