Asa Butterfield: "It's hard to make an original Christmas movie"
The Sex Education star leads the cast of Prime Video flick Your Christmas or Mine? – and spoke exclusively to RadioTimes.com along with co-stars Cora Kirk and Daniel Mays.
Asa Butterfield leads the cast of Prime Video's new festive romcom Your Christmas or Mine? – which follows two loved-up students who accidentally end up spending Christmas at the other's family home when a romantic gesture goes awry.
The film opens as James (Butterfield) and Hayley (Cora Kirk) simultaneously decide to surprise each other at their respective homes, only for them to each get stranded when a sudden snowfall prevents them from travelling back, with all sorts of shenanigans ensuing as a result.
Of course, new Christmas films are a dime a dozen at this time of year, but speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Butterfield revealed what he thinks makes this one stand out.
"It was never on my sort of my radar of things I really wanted to do," he said of starring in a Christmas movie. "I've never watched that many Christmas films, [but] I love Christmas, I love the festive time of year. And it wasn't until I read the script that I was like 'Oh my god.'
"I think it's hard to make an original Christmas movie," he added. "But I read the script and I immediately thought this is new, and this feels very alive and funny and real and relatable. And actually, I could just kind of see it – just reading the script, I could see it kind of come to life. And I think that's the sign of a really great story, so it kind of went from there for me."
Co-star Daniel Mays agreed that being in a Christmas film had "not necessarily [been] on my bucket list", but he too was immediately drawn to Tom Parry's script when he first got his hands on it.
"I guess there was an element after I'd finished the script of thinking, 'Well you actually haven't done a Christmas movie, Danny. So why not give it a whirl?'" he said.
"But I was completely sold by that premise of the switch at the train station. She goes down to the lavish mansion in the countryside where the heart of that family has been ripped out, and they're dealing with bereavement. And then you have a great contrast with this mad, working-class family, with all their Christmas traditions up in Macclesfield – I was completely sold on that."
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He continued: "It was just the quality of Tom's writing. All the characters are so well drawn. I found it so funny as a script, and it has great elements of drama to it as well. Particularly with the Macclesfield family that I was involved in, it was grounded in truth, it was grounded in social realism.
"And I think hopefully we've produced a real standout Christmas film. With a Christmas film, you just want to let it wash over you for a couple of hours, and I think it does that."
Cora Kirk, who is starring in one of her first feature film roles, added: "I love Christmas films, but I'd never ever dreamed of being in one. Like, I've never thought about it. And then when [the script] came through, I was like, 'I'm a seasonal queen, of course I should be in a bloody Christmas film!'"
As is the case with many festive films, production on Your Christmas or Mine? actually took place at the height of summer, but Kirk said that this didn't present too many difficulties for the cast – at least not once they'd got used to wearing full winter clothes in the heat.
"Christmas is so enjoyable for me personally, so as soon as I see a bit of tinsel, I'm like, 'Let's go!" she said. "But the heat was definitely something that proved a bit of a challenge to begin with. Because, yeah, we're meant to be cold and actually we're sweating. It's like, my eyeliner is sort of sliding down my face and I'm supposed to be going 'Brrrrr'.
"So that proved challenging initially. But our amazing director, Jim O'Hanlon, was incredibly supportive with reminding us where we were and what we were supposed to be doing in terms of, 'Its cold, shiver!'"
Mays added: "I was convinced it [shooting in summer] wasn't going to work. I don't know why I thought that, but I was just like, 'This is complete insanity.' It was like a really hot summer as well, and it was kind of surreal, I have to say, because you're there in woolly jumpers and scarves and hats, and it's like 35 degrees and you're sweating away.
"So you'd be walking down a country lane on a bright summer's day, turn the road and then it was just like winter and they were spraying this snow gun everywhere. So it was all smoke and mirrors, but I take my hat off to the production crew, you would never know that when you watch it back. It's just an absolute treat to watch!"