HBO Max’s “Santa Inc” is set for a Dec. 2 premiere, with Leslie Grossman, Gabourey Sidibe, Craig Robinson, Nicholas Braun, Maria Bamford, Joel Kim Booster added to the cast, Variety has learned exclusively.
“Santa Inc” is an adult stop-motion animated holiday series that consists of eight episodes (all of which will be released at once) and stars Seth Rogen as Santa and Sarah Silverman as an intrepid elf named Candy Smalls who is currently the No. 2 executive vice president and Santa Inc but wants to become Santa’s first female successor.
Grossman plays Cookie, who is described as a “frazzled and loudmouthed gingerbread woman,” who also happens to be a mother and Candy’s friend. Sidibe is Goldie, an openly bisexual and fervently single reindeer who has been one of Candy’s best friends since childhood. Goldie is on the “B-team” of reindeer, which means she trains as hard as the all-male A-team, but she receives none of the glory.
Robinson voices Junior, the leader of the reindeer pack (aka the A-Team) that pulls Santa’s sled. If you’re picturing the reindeer of yesteryear holiday specials, HBO Max wants to warn you that Junior is a bit different. “He belittles the Reindeer, yells at anyone in his way, uses his fame for no good, gets into fights, humiliates the weak and really has it in for Candy,” the network previews.
Booster plays Jingle Jim, Santa’s chief of staff and right-hand man who is considered “the manipulation machine” and the man who gets his hands dirty, so Santa doesn’t have to. (You can see a glimpse of both Junior and Jingle Jim in the featured image above.)
Braun voices Devin, who is a human frat boy from North Pole University who takes an internship at Santa Inc and specifically begins to work with Candy. He is burly, bearded and jolly — like a young Santa, but in sweats and cargo pants. He wants nothing more than to one day get a job at the company.
Bamford voices two key characters: Mrs. Claus and Big Candy. Mrs. Claus may be self-explanatory, as she is Santa’s husband, the First Lady of the North Pole, cheerful and polite. But in this story, she is also “woman who isn’t by any stretch weak minded or mired in tradition.” Big Candy is Candy’s mother who is also an elf. She is described as “doting but overbearing” and wants her daughter to find a husband. She also lives with and off of her daughter.
When the series was first ordered, in May 2020, Suzanna Makkos, executive vice president original comedy and animation at HBO Max said she had “long dreamed of a taking a beloved holiday tradition and adding a feminist agenda and some R rated comedy.”
“Santa Inc” is executive produced by Rogen, Silverman and showrunner Alexandra Rushfield. The series is produced by Lionsgate Television.