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'Spirited': Ryan Reynolds & Will Ferrell shot their Christmas musical in 100-degree weather

Apple's inverted take on A Christmas Carol opens on the big screen Friday, Nov. 11.

Spirited

The word "Christmas" immediately conjures up frosty images of snow-topped houses and steaming mugs of hot chocolate sipped by a roaring fire. Amidst the production of Spirited, however, Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell hoped to escape the heat as much as possible.

Discussing the holiday-themed musical comedy (coming to theaters and Apple TV+ next month) with Empire for the magazine's final issue of 2022 (now on sale), the co-stars recalled the grueling shoot last summer. "You're out there in Dickensian outfits, dancing on cobblestones in 100-degree weather in downtown Boston. And you're not thinking about Christmas," Ferrell said.

"You're thinking, 'Am I gonna die? Am I gonna pass away on camera?'" chimed in Reynolds. '"And it'll be so sad, too, because Tom Cruise can handcuff himself to a biplane at 10,000 feet while talking to an audience, and I'm gonna go because I got too hot in my Christmas stuffy.'"

An inverted take on A Christmas Carol, Spirited is the first adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens tale to be told from the point-of-view of the ghosts. The Ghost of Christmas Present (Ferrell) ends up taking stock of his own life — or afterlife, we should say — when he attempts to reform the Scrooge-like Clint Briggs (Reynolds) in the run-up to the merriest day of the year.

Spirited APPLE TV+ PRESS

"I liked ... that our Scrooge is more systemic," Reynolds explained of the movie's unique take on the nearly 200-year-old property. "Is redemption available for us as an entire society? Or do we just throw it all out with the bathwater? We don't oversimplify it with just one person in this film, which I thought was an interesting way to do it in the age of social media and collective consciousness."

Ferrell went on to describe the project as "a look at how the sausage is being made, and it's a crisis of faith as to whether this thing that these ghosts have done for centuries is even having an effect anymore. To tell that kind of story was completely new to me and caught my eye. Also, with our willingness to call out the fact that, like you said, a lot of these versions of Scrooge have been made, that takes the curse off of it slightly."

Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer (Ma), Sunita Mani (Servant), and Patrick Page (Evil) round out the principal cast. 

Sean Anders (Daddy's Home) directed the project, working off a screenplay he co-wrote with John Morris (Instant Family). The original songs were penned by La La Land duo, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Chloe Arnold (The Late Late Show with James Corden) handled the dance choreography. Ferrell, Anders, and Morris produced the feature alongside George Dewey (Free Guy), David Koplan (Uncut Gems), and Jessica Elbaum (The Shrink Next Door). Pasek and Paul are executive producers with Diana Pokorny (The Call of the Wild).

Spirited opens in theaters everywhere Friday, Nov. 11 before making its way to Apple TV+ a week later on Nov. 18.

Feeling festive? How the Grinch Stole Christmas is now streaming on Peacock!

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