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Carrie Kei Heim:


A KringleQuest.com Beyond Exclusive Interview!

Hey, fellow Elves! Even though Carrie Kei Heim was a little hesitant to respond to us at first, it was really nice of her to answer some very special questions that Richard e-mailed to her. Not one word has been omitted from her comments. As you read this, however, be aware of the following: If you see this interview, please DO NOT e-mail Carrie requesting her autograph. She and Peter are still very happy together, and are presently looking after their daughter; and, accordingly, we KringleQuesters must insist that you respect their privacy.

If there be one thing we Vendequm have learned over the years, it's that sometimes, people need to be treated with honor and dignity; and hopefully, that is what Richard has done with Carrie. Enjoy the interview!

RICHARD: I realize that it has been nearly 20 years since you and Christian Fitzpatrick were cast to portray the two kids who play pivotal roles in the adventure of Santa Claus: The Movie. So I wanna start this interview by having you recall how Jeannot Szwarc found you for the film, and what it was like traveling to London for the first time.

CARRIE: Like all big films, there were many auditions and callbacks for the kids' roles in Santa Claus: The Movie; but I think Jeannot 'found' me for the film the first time he met me. If Jeannot wasn't such a wonderful director, I am sure that I would not have gotten the role of Cornelia --- because, in the middle of my audition, I got nervous and started to cry. But, instead of deciding that I would be too hard to work with, Jeannot immediately asked me to do the scene again, to see if I could keep acting, despite my obvious distress. I had several more auditions after that, but I think that Jeannot saw what he wanted in me on that day, or else he wouldn't have bothered to test my limits and give me another chance. As for traveling to London, what can I say that everyone else hasn't already said? It's a wonderful city, and I loved living there. We went to all the museums and parks, and we went to the theatre every week.

RICHARD: Interesting. OK, the film was shot in 77 days, between August and November of 1984. Can you share some of your impressions on the first day you set foot on the Pinewood lot?

CARRIE: That timing doesn't sound right to me --- I worked on the movie for 4 months, from October 1984 to January 1985; and I do know that Dudley and David had worked on the film much longer than I did. But anyway, Pinewood is a huge, magical studio. They were filming one of the James Bond movies there at the same time, and we got to see some of the sets for A View to a Kill; and Christian and I played on the old abandoned outdoor sets. And of course, the Elf Compound [North Pole Headquarters] was full-size and absolutely fantastic.

RICHARD: There's a brief scene in the film where you and a couple of other girls are in this ballet class, arguing about whether or not Santa Claus is a fraud. Eventually, you get into this fight, and the ballet instructor (Pat Garrett, the film's choreographer, in one of several presumably unbilled cameos) has to break it up. Would you tell us how it went filming that scene?

CARRIE: Yeah, all my friends love to watch me beat up all those other little girls. I hate to admit it, but I didn't know how to 'fake' hitting the other ballerina in that scene, so I just ended up slapping her take after take after take..... I tried not to hit her too hard, but it had to have added up to a pretty painful scene for her. (Sorry!)

RICHARD: During the shooting schedule, you and Christian always understood that you were working with "Santa Claus," and never "David Huddleston." Did you have problems adjusting to working with David knowing that you could only address him as Santa, and not as David? Or did that just not come up?

CARRIE: This is not true --- we always called him David. I know that in the DVD, they have clips of Christian and me talking about what it was like working with "Santa," but actually, nobody let me in on the secret. I was just talking about working with David.

RICHARD: What was it like working with Jeannot Szwarc? I bet he was real nice, and he did all these amazing things with you two kids.

CARRIE: Jeannot was incredible. He was smart and funny and knew how to work with kids, and he always got the best performances from us. I can't say enough good things about him.

RICHARD: OK, this next one I'm gonna try to ask a bit gingerly: What was it like meeting the big men --- Alexander and Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler?

CARRIE: I didn't ever really meet Alexander Salkind --- he came to the set one day for a cast photo, but we never spoke. I did spend some time with Pierre and Ilya, however, and they were great -- very down-to-earth, very much in love with their work.

RICHARD: Surprisingly, you filmed only a very short scene with John Lithgow. I guess Uncle B.Z. was nicer to you off camera than on, huh?

CARRIE: How could he not be? The nicest people make the best bad guys. He was delightful, and I wish I'd gotten to work with him more.

RICHARD: Last year, I got an e-mail from someone asking to find out where Christian Fitzpatrick is now. After you guys attended the movie's premieres, did you kind of lose touch? Also, if you could talk to Christian now, what would you say to him?

CARRIE: We lost touch almost immediately after filming. There were no other children in the movie; and, with the exception of our stand-ins, we really had no other kids to play with ... for 4 whole months of filming. I think that, by the end of it, we were kind of tired of each other's company. I'd love to find out what he's up to now, though..... and I hope he's happy.

RICHARD: This next question is a little tough, but I hope you understand where I'm going here. I'm sure you were as shocked as the rest of us were a little over three years ago, when Dudley Moore went public about his diagnosis that he was suffering from PSP --- progressive supranuclear palsy. What was your reaction? And when you found out that Dudley had died, how did you react in that capacity as well?

CARRIE: I don't think there's an actor alive who wasn't devastated by the loss of Dudley Moore. Others know him better than I, so I will not speak at great length on this subject. I remember him best playing the piano in his dressing room. He was a gentle soul, and a great talent.

RICHARD: So now, 17 years after making Santa Claus: The Movie, how do you look back on it? And do you think you'll show it to your kids?

CARRIE: Of course I'm gonna show them the movie! The real question is: Will I try to convince my kids that I really met Santa and actually went to the North Pole?

RICHARD: Last question: What would you say to Santa now, if you could spend at least one moment in his presence?

CARRIE: I've been very good this year, and I would like a car, please.

Click here for Carrie and Peter's journey through the Big Easy, three weeks prior to the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina; then click here to follow Carrie and Peter's adventure in Japan! In the meantime, thanks, Carrie, for letting us KringleQuesters into at least a small portion of your memories of Santa Claus: The Movie. (And good luck as well with your brand-new blog of new and original stories!)

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