There’s a new Santa Claus coming to town, and it just might end up being Simon, a new character in The Santa Clauses TV show. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Kal Penn about how Simon ends up on the shortlist to possibly take over from Scott Calvin.
“Simon is a tech bro. He’s created from scratch this incredible delivery system tech company where he uses drones to kind of get things to people who need them — maybe based on some things in the real world. But he’s a single dad and his real relationship, the closeness of his life, is his relationship with his daughter.”
He continued, “So when Santa decides he’s retiring, Santa’s son, played by Austin Kane, is a big fan of Simon and Simon’s company. That’s basically how Simon becomes one of the many people who gets to interview to potentially be the next Santa Claus. But over the arc of the season, you really get a sense of kind of whether Simon actually really believes in the spirit of Christmas, or whether he has been co-opted by greed and that relationship with his daughter, with his kid, that really brings him back to understanding the true meaning of Christmas.”
Kal’s onscreen daughter, Grace, is played by the adorable Rupali Redd. Grace is at the core of Simon’s motivation. “She also grounds who Simon is, right? So the fact that she lost her mom, I lost my wife, is the backdrop of so much of what motivates Simon professionally and why he’s — I don’t want to say overbearing — but maybe why he’s overly protective of his kid,” Kal told HollywoodLife.
The actor gushed that the young actress is an “incredible actress.” He added, “I don’t know what her rehearsal process was like at home with her parents, but she just came in and nailed it every day. Made my job a lot easier.”
Prior to getting cast, director and EP Jason Winer emailed Kal about a role in his “secret holiday movie.” Kal noted that he loves Christmas and, of course, comedy. “So when I figured out what it was and read the scripts, I couldn’t have been more excited. So this was a really special one,” Kal admitted. New episodes of The Santa Clauses will premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.