BERLIN — Constantin Film and Bavaria Film are teaming up to produce “When Santa Fell to Earth,” an adaptation of Cornelia Funke’s children’s novel about two kids who help Santa save Christmas from dark forces.
The story follows Niklas, the last real Santa, played by Alexander Scheer (Carlos), who’s on the run after the evil leader of the Great Christmas Council (Volker Lechtenbrink) outlaws all of the old, magical ways, replacing reindeers with snowmobiles and banning elves and angels. With the help of local kids Ben and Charlotte, Niklas leads the fight to preserve all that is magical and special about Christmas while avoiding the Council’s menacing nutcracker army.
Oliver Diekmann is directing from a screenplay by Benjamin Bien and Robin Getrost, with Uschi Reich, head of Bavaria Filmverleih-und Produktions, producing and pubcaster ZDF on board as co-producer. The film has secured initial financing from regional subsidy org FFF Bayern.
The pic is set to shoot from November through February in and around Munich and in the Austrian Alps. Constantin is planning to release the film in Germany in November 2011.
“When Santa Fell to Earth” is the latest Funke adaptation and follows a slew of box-office hits based on her works, including Constantin and Bavaria’s “Wild Chicks” franchise, which has so far spawned three films.
Funke’s books have also proved a major success for other producers, including Detlev Buck’s “Hands Off Mississippi,” produced by Boje Buck, as well as Richard Claus’ 2005 “The Thief Lord,” starring Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy), and Iain Softley’s 2008 “Inkheart,” with Brendan Fraser, both of which went out via Warner Bros.