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Building Santa's workshop for ''Fred Claus''

Building Santa’s workshop for ”Fred Claus” — EW visits the faux-North Pole to chat with production designer Allan Cameron

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In Fred Claus, Santa (Paul Giamatti) hires his loser older brother (Vince Vaughn) as a temp laborer in his workshop at the North Pole. You’re looking at their office space: a soundstage at Pinewood Studios outside London where last fall thirty 50-inch-tall actors (imported for the film from Russian circus troupes) put on pointy ears and green felt hats to play the Christmas elves who make all the toys. ”In most previous Santa movies, all the toys look extremely old-fashioned,” says Allan Cameron, the film’s production designer. ”It’s all wooden hammers and dolls and things like that. But we’ve got some pretty high-tech robots and other electronics that kids would recognize. In fact, a lot of the product placement is stuff right here in this workshop.” These days, it seems, even Santa maximizes his revenue streams.