Vince Vaughn On Claus And His Rated X Christmas Wish List

Vince Vaughn has been through a lot of rough stuff in his life, so you could say that filling in as a substitute Santa doing those overnight sled shuttles and chimney slides across the planet in Fred Claus was a relative breeze. Vaughn was turned down for role after role when he showed up in Hollywood, until he hit pay dirt with Swingers, and then Wedding Crashers.

More recently, he’s been in trouble with the law over his drinking and bar brawls, and he lost part of his thumb in a car wreck. Then while working on Fred Claus over in London, his famous honey on the rebound from you-know-who, reportedly dumped him over the phone. On the other hand, Vaughn is notorious for his own bragging rights when it comes to parting ways with women he just doesn’t dig, as in his statement, ‘If I’m not interested in a woman, I’m straightforward.

Right after sex I usually say, I can’t do this anymore. But thanks for coming over!’ Now the big guy draws from his devilish ways a little to play the rowdy brother to Paul Giamatti’s saintly Santa in Fred Claus, while sulking after being dumped by Rachel Weisz’s fed up meter maid. Here’s Vince Vaughn on how the press may have messed up his love life, his naughty Christmas wish this year, and not necessarily ever looking forward to being a dad.

Is it true that you’re a really tough guy with the press?

VINCE VAUGHN: If you say that again, I’m coming over the table! I’m kidding. If I hurt you, I hurt a piece of myself, it’s a spiritual thing. You are safe, and we are on the same team.

So were you running around with a Santa fat suit on like Paul, or what?

VV: Unlike Paul, there is no suit on. What you see is what you get! I am authentic. Normally I’m 170 pounds soaking wet. Not on this one, I had to get into character.

What about those nutty chimney moves of yours?

VV: Here is the good news. Sometimes I would come down the chimney, and that was fine. Because I would just kind of come down the chimney. But when you see people falling and doing weird stuff? That is a stunt guy.

I’m an actor who is not fashionable. A lot of actors like to be like, yeah, I do my stunts. I don’t do any of my stuff. I don’t like to do my stunts. I like to have a stunt guy do my stuff.

So, he’ll go and fall on his head. And then we’ll do some kind of high five thing or something, and I will lie there and get up. I use a sort of a sense memory moment, of how I fell when I was much younger.

Now, which kind of kid were you at Christmas time, the one who was naughty or nice?

VV: Naughty. But in a very nice way!

How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa?

VV: I…don’t know what you’re talking about!

Well, when exactly did you stop believing in Santa Claus, if ever?

VV: I remember the day these neighbors let me know that there was no Santa Claus, I was six years old. They went, you know there’s no Santa Claus, right? And of course I was like, well, yeah. Of course there’s no Santa Claus, guys.

Then I went to my sisters and they said, okay, now you know the painful truth. there is no Santa Claus. I was the youngest. And they said, but don’t tell Mom and Dad, because then we may not get gifts anymore. You’ve got to keep pretending that you think there is a Santa Claus, or you’re not going to get any gifts.

And then I was like sixteen going, Dad, when is Santa coming? And my dad was like, look it’s getting weird. You are getting older, you know there’s no Santa. We’ll keep giving you gifts, but you know that, right? So I said, you’re going to keep giving gifts? Okay, there is no Santa. I get that. I totally get that.

So that was my experience with it. But I can’t speak for this group, we just did this fun short for the World Series with these kids. And when it was over, one of the kids who was nine or ten, he came running up to me afterwards. And he goes, hey, Fred. Tell your brother to get me something this year.

I looked at him and I said, oh, I got you. I got you. So, now I’m just hoping that this kid is getting something good for Christmas. Otherwise he’s going to hunt me down!

Do you think this movie is too adult for kids?

VV: I tell you the great thing about it, is that the movie has played phenomenal with all audiences. It’s not just that it’s grotesque or shocking And it’s got a lot of funny parts and emotion in it, and the stuff that works for adults.

I think Fred in a lot of ways is a big kid. He is a kid. I think he’s one of them. So this movie was kind of fun, to jump in and make a big Christmas movie.

What do you think will appeal to kid audiences about that?

VV: I think the kids will love the great theme that there’s no such thing as naughty kids.

What was your best Christmas ever? Or your worst Christmas?

VV: Best or worst? Well, they were all good! When you’re a kid, you get all those toys and stuff. When I was a kid and you’d feel the package and you knew it was socks, that was no fun. I don’t want socks. The next thing was like jeans. Jeans? Ugh…

How come?

VV: I was so painfully skinny, so it just reminded me how awkward I was shaped at the time. But then you would open toys, and that was great. And then you get to a certain age, and all you get is clothes. So the fun is over.

But now that I have a nephew and some nieces, the fun is back in it. There’s nothing like kids at Christmas time. You know, the joy that they get opening the gift they’ve been asking for.

I’m not really that good at helping set stuff up. But setting it up and playing with it that day, that’s really a time to connect, and have fun.

Since you dig being an uncle, are you ready to be a dad?

VV: Here’s the thing that I’ve found is advantageous about being an uncle. I get to play with them, I get to say they’re great, and then I get to go home! But I think I would be a good dad, once they got to be about six or seven and I could communicate with them.

I love kids, I’ve always loved kid. But being around them in those early stages…The thing is that they’re crying, and you know there’s only a few things they could possibly want. But it’s figuring which one of those three or four, and that seems like an eternity.

Would you ever like put them in that naughty closet in the movie?

VV: No, never. I just separate them. I’ll say, Uncle Vince says you can’t be hitting her!

So have the paparazzi stopped chasing your all over town now that your love life has cooled down?

VV: I am left alone a lot of times. And then sometimes I have moments where I’m followed. It’s something that just sort of comes with this, but it’s a drag. There are just bigger problems, obviously. And most times you realize they’re just trying to do their job, to make a buck.

Do you think that the press snooping around for personal stuff about you has affected your love life?

VV: No. Not always. But if you’re dating someone who is famous, then it sorta happens. Yeah. But it’s more of a phenomenon to a ridiculous point, nowadays. The pendulum swings so far one way, and not the other way. But you know, it’s not that big of a deal.

What’s the high for you of doing a holiday movie?

VV: For me, I like to do themes. Like I am about to turn Labor Day on its ass next year. So that’s kind of my starting catalyst point. I go to a calendar, and I go like, President’s Day. Get ready. You’re about to be kicked!

What do you want for Christmas?

VV: A hot tub, a couple girls from Brazil, and a Do Not Disturb sign.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.