A Filipino is responsible for turning “Stranger Thing’s” David Harbour into a butt-kicking combatant Santa Claus in an upcoming Holiday action-comedy.
Jonathan “Jojo” Eusebio led the action scenes of Tommy Wirkola‘s “Violent Night” as a second unit director, working with David who trained intensely for the role.
The movie stars the “Stranger Things” actor as Santa Claus who’s about to prove why Nick is no saint when a team of mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve and takes everyone inside hostage.
David’s Santa is described as a protector and warrior who becomes slightly bitter and tired about the otherwise merry holiday.
Entertainment publication Variety said the actor portrays “a grizzlier, more rueful version of Kris Kringle.”
David is joined by an ensemble that includes Cam Gigandet, Beverly D’Angelo and John Leguizamo.
Its script was penned by Pat Casey and Josh Miller, who previously wrote the first and second live-action “Sonic the Hedgehog” movies.
In order to portray the combatant Santa, David underwent extensive training, which allowed for more specialty shots, long takes and big movements that wouldn’t be done safely without Jojo’s guidance.
The Filipino has worked with 87North Productions on various projects, including the action-packed John Wick franchise.
“Violent Night” producer David Leitch also praised Jojo for his work in the action-comedy.
“Jojo was one of the original members of our choreography team, so we’ve been working together a good 20 years,” he said.
“The talent that’s gravitated to 87North is beyond the physical. There’s a common work ethic and desire to make movies, and Jojo has always had that same drive in him. I have so much respect for him and love the work he’s been doing, both with 87North and without,” Leitch added.
Another producer, Kelly McCormick, lauded Jojo’s contribution to the Holiday movie.
“Jojo had the desire to be challenged and he was inspired by the Christmas backdrop,” she said.
“He brought a team together that had amazing athleticism and skill, and I think they all learned a lot about blending the wit and comedy with the action in the film along the way,” Kelly added.
“Violent Night” will premiere in local cinemas on November 30.
The local censors board has given it an R-16 rating. — Video from Universal Pictures Philippines via YouTube