Holiday Guide

A Rhode Island Christmas Story

How Saving Christmas, starring Ed Asner, turned Cranston into a winter movie wonderland

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If you were to look at his filmography, you might assume from the work of local filmmaker Tom DeNucci that he’s more of a Halloween guy. But when Hollywood came knocking with the opportunity to direct actor Ed Asner, the director of several locally produced horror films was ready to trade spooky for Santa on his latest feature, Saving Christmas.

“[They needed] to put together a Christmas movie very quickly,” Tom explains, “so they called me asking if I have any Christmas material.” He quickly turned around a script with his writing partner, Kevin DeCristofano, got notes back from the studio and in just seven days had a greenlit production to be shot on location in Cranston.

The movie, about two kids trying to prove that Santa is real, had Ed Asner already attached, meaning that they were able to write with him in mind as St. Nick. It also meant that Tom had to direct a living screen legend.

“At first I was a little apprehensive about giving him direction, but then he started busting my chops,” Tom says. “He’s one of the funniest men alive, so I got it right away: he was there to have a good time. He made me feel comfortable by keeping things light.”

The biggest challenge may have been making Rhode Island look like a winter wonderland… in April. The Cranston Fire Department worked a little movie magic of their own by spraying the Cranston Print Works with a flame-suppressing foam in place of snow. Not too bad for a Christmas miracle. Saving Christmas will hit DVD and Video On-Demand on November 21.