‘Spirited’: Ryan Reynolds & Will Ferrell on Making ‘A Christmas Carol’ Work in 2022

Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell at the 'Spirited' premiere at Alice Tully Hall in New York City on November 7, 2022
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Marion Curtis / StarPix for Apple

We never seem to grow weary of A Christmas Carol. Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, Octavia Spencer, and Tracy Morgan are bringing an all-new iteration of the Charles Dickens classic to the screen in Spirited, premiering in theaters on November 11 and on Apple TV+ on November 18. The movie musical sees Reynolds and Ferrell as you’ve never seen them before. With massive musical numbers penned by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (the Oscar-winning duo behind La La Land), Spirited promises to be an exciting new holiday tale. And this time, A Christmas Carol is told from the perspective of the ghosts.

Each Christmas Eve, the Ghost of Christmas Present (Ferrell) selects one dark soul to be reformed by a visit from three spirits. But this season, he picked the wrong Scrooge. Clint Briggs (Reynolds) turns the tables on his ghostly host until Present finds himself reexamining his own past, present, and future. Reynolds tells TV Insider at the November 7 Spirited premiere in New York City that his character is an Ebenezer Scrooge for modern times.

“It updates with the culture,” he says of the universal, evergreen appeal of A Christmas Story. “I feel like it has a certain moment where we’ve changed enough, we’ve discovered or created or fostered enough newly wretched people that need to be ‘Scrooged.'”

“I like that this one attacks something that I think is quite relevant now, which is I’m a guy who uses social media manipulation to divide people,” he adds. “We see that every single day in our world right now, and changing someone like that could not just change him for good but create a ripple effect for so many others. The story made sense to me on that level, and I love that we got to tell it that way.”

Deadpool singing and dancing to Christmas tunes isn’t something we thought we’d see. Actually, scratch that. That’s very on-brand. And like Deadpool, Spirited is made for adults — expect the expected wit from the leading men (sans Deadpool-level cursing) and even some breaking of the fourth wall and meta references to their past films.

When it comes to choreographers Chloe Arnold’s (The Late Late Show with James Corden) behemoth musical numbers, Reynolds teases the rehearsal process was “exciting, riveting, terrifying. I felt like I could’ve done the whole thing wearing an adult diaper.”

“It was unlike anything I’ve ever done before,” Reynolds notes. “This really felt completely and totally both out of my element and completely in my element. That’s really speaking to the teachers that we had around us who helped us be the best we could be.”

Aimee Carrero, Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, Octavia Spencer, Sunita Mani, Patrick Page and Sean Anders at the 'Spirited' premiere on November 7, 2022 in New York City

Marion Curtis/StarPix for Apple

With one classic holiday movie under his belt with Elf, what was it about Spirited that made Ferrell want to make another?

“Well, you always have to have two, right? Two classic Christmas movies. Everyone knows that. That’s day one stuff,” he jokes. But truly, it was the original idea for this new Christmas Carol that drew him in.

“I’ve worked with Sean Anders and John Morris on two other movies. They called me up with what I thought was a really unique idea of doing Christmas Carol from the ghost’s perspective as opposed to from the Scrooge perspective and doing a musical. I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve never seen that,’” Ferrell shares. “And that’s kind of where I am in my career is just looking to always test the limits and do different things. And here we are!”

Scrooged also stars Patrick Page (The Gilded Age), Sunita Mani (Glow), Aimee Carrero (Elena of Avalor, She-Ra, The Menu), Andrea Anders (Better Off Ted), Marlow Barkley (Single Parents), and newcomer Loren Woods. It was written by Anders and Morris and directed by Anders (Daddy’s Home).

Spirited, In Theaters Friday, November 11, Streaming Debut Friday, November 18, Apple TV+

Spirited - Apple TV+

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