' ' Cinema Romantico: 12 Potential Character Actors for Hallmark Christmas Movies

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

12 Potential Character Actors for Hallmark Christmas Movies

The narrative hegemony of Hallmark Christmas movies in tandem with their generally functional direction means that often what sets the good ones apart is the varying quality of the lead performances. What elevates them even further, however, is the caliber of the supporting cast. Like last year’s “Haul Out the Holly,” in which a superb group of bit players was headlined by one of the most renowned bit players of all, Stephen Tobolowksy. Indeed, consult any fly-by-night listicle of Hollywood’s best character actors and you are likely to find Tobolowsky. “Basic Instinct,” sure, and “Groundhog Day,” of course, but his resume goes so much deeper. When Michael Mann needed someone to play the President of CBS News as a corporate lackey in “The Insider,” who was he gonna call? Stephen Tobolowsky. And the wily old vet’s turn in “Haul Out the Holly” by playing cuckoo for Christmas helped transform it into truly, seriously the best made Hallmark Christmas I have seen. And that got me to thinking. It got me to thinking about other Hollywood character actors we could call to help out Hallmark. A few suggestions to get the holiday party started:

Bruce McGill. You’re telling me Bruce McGill, who should be in everything, can’t play one of those Not-Really-Santa-But-Totally-Santa characters? 

Luis Guzmán. Like how Natasha Lyonne just sort of was the receptionist on Mars in “Ad Astra,” I’m picturing the immortal Guzmán as just kind of being the clerk at a Christmas-themed hotel. 

Judy Greer. The hard-charging protagonist’s even more hard-charging boss back in the big city. A performance exclusively via Bluetooth headset. 

Clancy Brown. Overzealous mall cop hired for the holidays. 

Bill Irwin. Out of control Christmas choir director. 

Keith David. Beleaguered mayor of Santa Claus, IN.

Dale Dickey. Mystical yet practical proprietor of a reindeer farm.

Kevin Dunn. Corporate schmuck who wants to buy the reindeer farm to turn it into condominiums. 

Amy Ryan. Coffee shop owner who totally knows the protagonist better than she knows herself. 

Joan Cusack. Can’t you see her sporting a garish Christmas sweater and effusing holiday cheer to disturbing levels? 

James LeGros. Chairman of Evergreen, AK’s The 12 Days of Christmas who thinks it can be optimized into 3 days. 

John Turturro. People in these movies are always losing a loved one, but they rarely feel – they rarely look – like someone who has lost a loved one. John Turturro would look like he lost a loved one. 

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