We knew that Mel Gibson would be playing an unconventional Santa Claus in the upcoming movie Fatman, but now that Saban Films has released a trailer for the indie movie, I’ll be honest — I didn’t quite picture this.
Fatman is a dark action comedy about a 12-year-old brat who receives a lump of coal in his stocking and decides to hire a highly-skilled assassin (Walton Goggins) to kill Santa Claus, whose “business” is in such decline that he’s become a bitter, alcoholic has-been. But drunk or not, Santa is ready for this onslaught of violence, telling his would-be assassin that he’s hardly the first to come at Kris Kringle, so he’d better not miss.
The holiday movie hails from sibling filmmakers Ian and Eshom Nelms, and though the actors appear to be playing it straight, you can tell that the directors are aware of the inherent comedy in this premise. The casting alone is a sign that they’re in on the joke, as Gibson is among the last actors anyone would think of as “jolly,” while Goggins seems well-suited to slay the man in the sleigh. How they convinced Marianne Jean-Baptiste to be in this movie, I’ll never know, but her casting lends the proceedings an air of seriousness.
The other element of this movie that I really like is Chance Hurstfield, the young actor who plays Goggins’ vengeful client. I first saw him in Netflix’s hugely underrated comedy The Package as the “dicks get cut, dicks get sucked” kid, and then he popped up in Good Boys as one of the popular kids. He’s got a lot of attitude for a young actor and it was nice seeing him in the Fatman trailer, as he feels like he’s good for a few laughs at the very least.
Inevitably, whenever a new Mel Gibson movie comes out, people bring up his anti-Semitic rant in 2006 and the racist comments he made on tape in 2010, and they give me this look like they’re surprised I’d watch one of his films. I don’t think Mel and I will ever be best friends, and I’m not saying the guy should win a Nobel Peace Prize, but I am able to separate the art from the artist, and the fact is that Mel Gibson is a charismatic leading man. He may not star in big movies anymore, but my father and I had no problem watching his recent action thriller Force of Nature together. That choice is certainly up to you, but I haven’t turned my back on Mel the Movie Star, even if I’ve written him off as a person.
Fatman will be coming down the chimney of select theaters on Nov. 13 before making its way to digital platforms on Nov. 17. ‘Tis the season and all that jazz. Watch the Fatman trailer below, and for more on Mel, click here to see what Force of Nature is all about.
Here’s the Fatman official synopsis:
To save his declining business, Chris Cringle (Mel Gibson), also known as Santa Claus, is forced into a partnership with the U.S. military. Making matters worse, Chris gets locked into a deadly battle of wits against a highly skilled assassin (Walton Goggins), hired by a precocious 12-year-old after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking. ‘Tis the season for Fatman to get even, in the action-comedy that keeps on giving.