Three years ago, before Apple TV+ even launched, we heard about one of their first big deals, to make a new, musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. At the time, I wasn’t into it, largely because A Muppets Christmas Carol already exists and you won’t top perfection. Now, we have some first look images of the project called Spirited, and…I stand by my previous statement. Muppets or bust.
The cast has expanded to include Octavia Spencer and Sunita Mani (aka GLOW’s Arthie), and though details of Spirited remain scarce, Reynolds is playing the Scrooge figure and Ferrell is the Ghost of Christmas Present. Octavia Spencer is, reportedly, one of Reynolds-Scrooge’s co-workers, and Mani is the Ghost of Christmas Past. The film is currently undated but is expected this holiday season, and I will give it this, it certainly looks like a musical. As in, it looks deliberately stagey. Those images from a street scene dance number, and Octavia Spencer belting on what looks like an ice rink or a rooftop or a rooftop ice rink, especially look like theater sets. That’s not a bad approach to A Christmas Carol, which is, essentially, a fantasy. A film like Scrooged can attempt to ground it, but really, this is high Victorian melodrama complete with SPECTERS, might as well lean into the theatricality of it all. I’m still not here for a musical version without Muppets, but I know that’s just me and my thing about musicals.
Also, in the years since this project was first announced, I have softened my stance on Ryan Reynolds. Smirky sarcasm is still his brand of comedy, but he has lately been combining his sardonic edge with a new soft-heartedness. Maybe it’s getting older, maybe it’s his dadness shining through, but whatever it is, it’s on display in The Adam Project, which drops on Netflix this weekend, and if Spirited is in the same family-friendly vein, it will probably be on a LOT of televisions—or laptops, whatever—this holiday season. People already love smirky sarcastic Ryan Reynolds. Smirky sarcastic Ryan Reynolds with a heart of gold is like, a real challenge to The Rock’s current status as Most Popular Guy At Hollywood High.
Also attached - Ryan out in New York yesterday and Will warming up with the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco.