Stranger Things star David Harbour will soon sport a big white beard and a belly that wobbles like a bowl full of jelly in the upcoming Christmas black comedy action flick Violent Night. But, unlike most depictions of jolly old Saint Nick, Harbour’s version will also be a jiu-jitsu expert — a skill set that Harbour already possessed and has waited all this time for a filmmaker to ask him to show off. No doubt he did not think it would be as Santa.
“[I’m] trained in wrestling styles and jiu-jitsu. I did a movie with Liam [Neeson] after the Taken series. He marveled at it. When you’re in your twenties, in your prime physically, nobody’s really interested in you doing that. And then you get to be a little old and crotchety and incapable, and they get very interested!”
Speaking with Total Film, Harbour teased his action-oriented take on Kris Kringle, with this iteration of Santa forced to demonstrate his penchant for violence one Christmas Eve when a family is kidnapped. Thus, Violent Night finds Harbour’s Santa reaching into his sack and bringing out the big guns in Violent Night after a team of elite mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone inside hostage. But the team isn’t prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus (Harbour) is on the grounds, and he’s about to show why this Nick is no saint. Check out the latest image from Violent Night below.
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From the creators of John Wick and described as a “coal-dark holiday thriller that says you should always bet on red,” Violent Night is directed by Tommy Wirkola (The Trip, Dead Snow) from an original screenplay written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller. Violent Night stars John Leguizamo (Encanto, John Wick: Chapter 2), Beverly D’Angelo (National Lampoon’s Vacation, Vacation), Alex Hassell (The Tragedy of Macbeth), Alexis Louder (Copshop), Edi Patterson (The Righteous Gemstones), Cam Gigandet (Twilight, Without Remorse), and André Eriksen (Vikings) alongside David Harbour as Santa Claus.
Early Violent Night Reactions Have Praised David Harbour’s Savage Santa Claus
The first reactions to Violent Night have heaped praise on David Harbour’s jiu-jitus loving Santa. “Our man at #NYCC caught #ViolentNight – here’s what he had to say: Just saw an early screening of Violent Night at NYCC. It was full of brutal gory acting, corny jokes, over the top performances…..AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!” said one lucky viewer.
“Just watched #ViolentNight at #NYCC and it’s a BLAST,” adds another. “Very much DIE HARD meets BAD SANTA w/ some epically inventive holiday-themed fight scenes. David Harbour is perfect as Santa. Lots of heart, head wounds & holiday cheer. This one definitely earns its title. See it w/ a crowd!”
The early reactions were quickly enamored with Harbour’s violent Father Christmas, with another reaction saying, “Bah humbug, mother—er! #ViolentNight is the perfect combo of gore & Xmas magic. David Harbour doesn’t hold back as a vengeful Santa Clause destined to deliver one last bang. With Final Destination-worthy kill shots & an eerie amount of logic, this film is a true gift!”
Violent Night is scheduled to be released in the United States on December 2, 2022, by Universal Pictures.