This version isn’t of Santa Claus in Disney+’s Dashing Through The Snow isn’t your average Santa. Not only is he for the culture, but this jolly man has the gadgets and gizmos to match current times.
As the holiday countdown begins, Will Packer is back at it again with another Christmas film for the people, but this one is slightly different from anything we’ve seen.
“I’ve had some fun making Christmas movies,” the beloved filmmaker told Blavity’s Shadow and Act. “They were generally around big families and big family dynamics, elements and issues. This one is, interestingly, about a smaller family dynamic, but the movie itself is bigger and better.”
The movie’s main character, Eddie (Ludacris), is a social worker for the Atlanta Police Department whose job is to help people who don’t always have a healthy view of themselves or the world, yet due to his unresolved childhood trauma, Eddie isn’t able to see that he is one of those people when it comes to a strong dislike for anything related to Christmas.
“He’s one of those people that will say, ‘I don’t do Christmas,’ and we all know people that are like that,” Packer continued. “Holidays aren’t amazing for everybody for various reasons. For Luda’s character, it’s because he has some childhood trauma that he hasn’t really dealt with, and so the journey of this family unit, which is really small because it’s just Luda, his wife and their daughter, is interesting because Luda and his daughter are now forced to go on this journey. He’s forced to be with somebody, the whole movie, who doesn’t believe in anything but Christmas, and that, of course, is our Santa Claus, played by Lil Rel.”
While there have been various portrayals of a Black Santa in films over the years, their storylines have not always matched the worldview of the leader of the North Pole; however, Dashing Through the Snow is much different, and it’s a moment that Lil Rel Howery is honored to add to his extensive resume.
“It means a lot,” Howery expressed regarding taking on the role of Santa Claus in the film and witnessing the crowd’s reaction during the movie’s premiere in Atlanta.
“At the end of the movie, when everybody started cheering… It’s only been a few times that I felt something like that,” he continued. “Honestly, when I did Get Out, it felt like that. This is a little different, though, because I think about an image that I’d never seen as a kid and having my kids there and seeing this.”
What’s more, beyond just representation and the spirit of healing, Ludacris hopes that people walk away feeling the love that everyone should feel during the holiday season.
“We talked about the healing, which I feel is probably No. 1, especially during the holiday, but I just want them to feel love,” he said.
The rapper-turned-actor is also thankful to be a part of a film that his entire family can enjoy, especially as a father of four daughters.
“We do films where we can’t necessarily watch it with our kids,” Ludacris added. “This is one of those films where we can watch it with our family and feel great about it. It’s just a lot of love and a lot of family.”
Where is 'Dashing Through The Snow' streaming?
Dashing Through the Snow is available for streaming on Disney+.