Eric Lloyd is an American actor, comedian, and former child actor. Lloyd is best known for work as a child actor in such roles as Charlie Calvin in The Santa Clause film trilogy, and as "Little John" Warner in the NBC television series Jesse.
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Well, it's 20 years since THE SANTA CLAUSE came out this holiday season! I'm getting back into the industry and opening a film & music production studio, and playing music. My band RadioMason is currently working on our debut album (out early next year) and you can check out my production studio here: https://www.facebook.com/LPMusicandFilmStudios
Victoria's helping me get started today. Go ahead and AMA!
EDIT: Alright, I gotta head into the studio and keep building. We're doing some acoustic treatments to the facility so I gotta go and work! Thanks for the questions!
Are you still amazed at the fact that families who have impressionable kids that watch classic and current family movies are introducing and watching the original Santa Clause after all these years?
I actually thought about that. The past couple years, I was thinking how un-Christmas of a movie TSC is compared to Santa Movies. Now it's about hiding the world from the kids - the reason TSC is so great is because it deals with these intense issues in a very blunt way. He's a deadbeat dad, he's divorced, there are a lot of family issues people deal with around Christmas, so I think that's one reason the film has lasted so long is because it's SO real - versus some films that say "Oh it's Christmas! It's all sunshine & roses" when it's not necessarily in some people's lives.
When you said, "plain milk's fine..." did you really mean it? Cause.... I'm getting the impression that you really didnt like plain milk.
Yeah, I'm not a huge milk fan. I'm actually slightly lactose intolerant. I had a lot of allergies as a kid. But when I went to Canada, there was a whole new set of pollens that really messed up my world when I was filming as younger. That's why my face is so fat on the cover, because i had to take Prednisone. AND on the cover that's actually not my body, or Tim Allen! It's some other kid standing behind a cutout of Tim Allen. And they just put my face on it. So they didn't have to pay me for another day.
This actually happened a lot back in the 90's. Probably still does.
did making the Santa Clause impact your own concept of who Santa was ?
Actually, it kind of strengthened my belief in Santa.
My mom definitely didn't want to ruin that. So I knew, growing up, just from being in films, that films weren't real, but in my eyes, we were making a biopic of Santa in a way- we were just doing a movie about him. So when the first movie came out, they premiered it at the Arclight theater in Hollywood, and there used to be a parking lot where Amoeba Records is now, and they had a whole huge set up with a sled, they brought Santa in a helicopter, had a float with a whole bunch of mall santas - and when I got there, Rick Dees from the radio show flew in (who was supposed to be the "real Santa") from the North Pole in a helicopter. And on the way to the premiere, I told my mom in the limo how i was going to know if he was the real Santa or not.
I said "I sent him a letter asking him for this toy. But what I really want now is a kitten." So right then, my mom said "oh crap! I told him the toy!" So when we got to the premiere, my dad took me and my sister down the red carpet, and my mom ran to the first PA she could find, with a walkie, and said "You gotta radio the helicopter and tell Santa he wants a kitten!"
So when the first Santa came out of the helicopter and walked over to me, he leaned over and whispered in my ear "We're gonna have to get you that kitten!" And my mom said my face - my eyes went so wide-eyed. And I believed that was the REAL Santa for the next 5-6 years.
My mom was really good about keeping all those holiday things alive.
When Judy looked you in the eyes at Denny's and told you they were out of chocolate milk you responded that plain milk was "fine." But I couldn't help but notice your face said otherwise, was plain milk really ok?
HELL NO PLAIN MILK WAS NOT OKAY! I wanted chocolate milk!
How has your acting career influenced your music career?
What are some of your major musical influences?
Oh that's a good one!
I wouldn't necessarily say it impacted my music career yet cuz it's just getting started. But production-wise, working with bands & people, being on set and dealing with a lot of directors has helped me deal with being in the studio, and getting performances out of artists when we're doing recording. There's a lot that's similar between directing actors and directing musicians (as a producer). It's definitely helped.
Well, a whole bunch. I like a lot of stuff. I grew up with a dad who would ask "Who's this" whenever a song came on the radio. For the music we're doing now, influences would be Finch, Thrice, A Perfect Circle, Tool, all the way to things like Jeff Buckley, kind of a jump, but...
I'm not sure a million dollars really exists, have you ever seen it?
No I have not ever seen a million dollars.
You look at lot like Thomas Ian Nicholas in that proof picture.
AMERICAN PIE, huh? Cool? Haha! I don't know. I hope I'm a little bit taller!
Morning eric thanks for doing this AMA. My question is do you have any fun stories from the set of heart and souls with RDJ?
Um, that set was AWESOME.
That was my first film. I was 5 years old. When we did the film, there's a dance number that RDJ did at the end with all 4 of the souls, and originally I was supposed to do that dance number with them earlier in the film. So we had a couple months of practicing, and he taught me to put my finger in my ear so I could hear myself while I was singing! And then when it came to shoot that scene, because of child labor laws, they ran out of time with me. So they had to cut the whole scene of it. So it ended up with me just doing a little choreographed number in the bathroom. Which is kind of sad. But it did turn out really funny in the movie.
Do you have any memorable or funny stories to tell about filming The Santa Clause?
I know i told one story on a BIO channel thing they did 2 years back, but I fell halfway through shooting and landed on a rock. Knocked my 2 front teeth out and scratched the whole left side of my face up. Next morning I woke up to executive producers, the director and the first AD leaning over my bed in the hotel room to see how bad it was, and I told my mom later "It's kinda like the scene in the WIZARD OF OZ where Dorothy wakes up and everybody's all around her bed!" because I woke up and everyone was gathered around my bed.
Tim Allen seems like a really cool guy to be around. What is one of the funnier stories you remember from your time spent together?
Well, on the second SANTA CLAUSE, they had to do an FX shot of him waving goodbye to everyone from over the side of the sleigh. So we're doing a green screen shot, in a studio in Vancouver, and there's one hair in his beard that the special FX guys are trying to cut off, but it's sticking STRAIGHT OUT into the green screen, so they had 2 people standing at the monitor, the hair & makeup people next to Tim trying to figure it out, and it took 30-40 minutes to figure out that ONE hair - and in the meantime, Tim is getting more and more annoyed.
I wa filming the entire thing for my high school theater production class - my home work was to do a "behind-the-scenes" - and so I am filming Tim getting more and more agitated, and he starts going off, it was a Tim Allen comedy routine at that point. And it ended up with him pulling off his glove & flipping off the director. It was all in jest. It was some great footage.
Don't know if there's a statute of limitations for me to be able to put that on the internet one day.
Hey, My sister in law wants to know if you're single? Also, did you ever accidentally drop the snowglobe tossing it back and forth?
The snow globe they dropped on set all the time. They had TONS and tons of them - 2 versions. A lighter version that was meant to be seen from far away - the ones we were tossing around were those. And then we had a few close-up picture versions for the special FX shots. So when they did the FX shots, I had to have my hands on a green screen platform so my hands didn't move at all and THAT was with one of the picture ones. There are only 2 of those picture ones left - I have one and Tim Allen has one.
And they didn't put treated water in them, so they turned brown after a couple years. I had to find a snow globe maker, to fix it.
I could send you a picture.
It needs to be fixed again if anyone knows a snow globe specialist in LA: http://imgur.com/2Fi3JxB
I knew I liked you. Great answer, thanks. BTW the guitar on Fire, Danger! is solid!
Thank you so much! That's me and my friend Brian! He's my musical writing partner, pretty much. A lot of it's him as well as me.
How much (if anything) do you earn annually from residuals on the Santa Clause movies?
It depends on how much it's being shown & if all 3 of them, or just one of them is being shown. But residuals are funny - they will send you a check for less than a dollar if you made that money since you can sue. So sometimes they're nice, other times, they're minuscule, but it's not as much as you would think.
was your favorite college directing project a reboot of "The Fabulous Baker Boys" and if so, why? haha
IS THIS JORDAN?!
That was a lot of fun. Definitely one of my fave projects in college. Just cuz we found a parking structure at the Glendale Galleria, and did the whole thing mobile - Guerrilla status! Nothing touching the ground - just light boards our cinematographer was holding above his head while shooting.
The cinematographer, by the way, was Brandon Alprin.
What happened to the old Santa that Tim Allen replaced? What else do you like to do besides Christmas movies?
Oh, he fell off the roof, he's dead! I saw it with my own eyes!
I actually haven't watched THE SANTA CLAUSE in at least 5-6 years? But besides that, music! My life pretty much revolves around that - doing band stuff. I'm still a gamer. I was a gameboy kid back then on the set of THE SANTA CLAUSE, and now it's evolved into Xbox.
hah, you got me! that was a lot of fun, man. hope all is well with you!
Hahaha! That is awesome!
Who do you think has a better attitude about being a child star, and being recognized for being in films as a kid? Eric Lloyd, or Jake Lloyd? Is there any relation?
No, there's no relation. I would say I have a better attitude, but it's not based on who we are. It's more based on the roles we were put into. I'm a HUGE Star Wars nerd - so it's a hard position to be in to be the kid cast as Anakin Skywalker. A LOT fell on his shoulders. He gets a lot of flack that should be put on George Lucas, not him!
Can you tell us any funny story about someone recognizing you from The Santa Clause? That's my favorite Christmas movie!!
It's funny that people still recognize me. I don't think I look the same. But people will come from across the room and say "OH MY GOD, CHARLIE!~"
There was one time I was at a friend's wedding, and there was a girl there, and she literally couldn't talk - she was like "uh...uh..." and that was probably the most intense reaction to me being in the film.
Other than that, most people are pretty cool. It's not like crazy celebrity sightings. People are very nice.
Do you stay in touch with Tim Allen? Best memory of working with him? Thanks :)
No, I don't. I don't really think we have too much to talk about. I talked to him a bit on the third SANTA CLAUSE - I was in college at that point, so I was older. Other than that, haven't seen him in a while.
Once a client walked into my job and asked what time we closed and I responded, "Uh right around the time Dunston Checks In." They thanked me and walked out as my co-workers sputtered with laughter. What fond memories do you have from that film?
Oh that's great. I can't believe your friends knew the reference.
One of my fondest memories was Jason Alexander gave my - I believe at that point i was in 5th grade -he gave my 5th grade teacher a back massage. I went to public school, so I invited my teacher and another teacher from my school to come to set, and when they got there, Jason just schmoozed them and gave him a back massage - he's a trained singer and dancer, I saw him at Carnegie Hall when I was younger - and he learned that from his days doing theater. He was super-super nice to them. It really made my day.
There was a decent gap between the first two Santa Clause movies. What was it like to do one movie as a young kid, and then come back to the franchise--and the people within it, like Tim Allen--7-8 years later as a teenager?
It was actually really awesome to get to come back. Getting to see people like Judge and David and Wendy again was awesome after so many years. I'd also taken a break from acting at that point to go to high school & college, so those were the only 2 films I did during that time, so it was really nice to be back on set again. SANTA CLAUSE 3 was the first film I did when I was over 18, not having to do 3 hours of school per day. And not having my mom on set either- that was the first time I'd been on set without her.
Wow it's already been 20 years since The Santa Clause was released? Time flies..
Did you have a hard time not breaking character and laughing when Tim Allen was dressed up as "Toy Clause" in The Santa Clause 2?
YES. It was really hard. Especially because he's one way on-camera, keeping his humor PC, but when there weren't young elves on-set, he just went off. It's hilarious. He pretended to be a dictator. The stuff he was saying between scenes was a lot more provocative, but hilarious.
What are your musical influences with this debut record ?
A lot that I've already stated, plus Manchester Orchestra - they're a band I've gotten into more recently that i really connect with. But I don't know how much of it goes into the album, cuz mostly we kind of write, and then when we take a step back, you can see I got this from listening to this... but as you're writing it, it kind of just comes out.
Thanks for the response. I hope they get huge in China!
I hope the band AND residuals get big in China! It's a very large market.
what are rents like where you are opening your studio? what places outside of the traditional industry spots (LA etc...) would you open your studio?
We already have a location. We are opening it in Glendale, right near the Glendale / Burbank border. We have a 4,000 sq foot facility. And rent-wise, I don't know if you mean rent for me or for people coming in, but we come in on a custom basis, so we try to work with people who are coming in to make a budget that fits their needs. The whole idea of our studio is to amalgamate services so we can do pre-to-post production, a green stage, multiple post production rooms and recording studios, so you can hire US to do your production on whatever it may be, or you can rend the space separate from us to pass those savings along. So you don't have to rent the WHOLE studio, you can fit the budget to your needs!
Who was a better on-screen dad, Jason Alexander or Tim Allen?
I think that's an opinion for those who are watching. Whoever you like better. Jason Alexander was a single dad all about his kids, whereas Tim was a deadbeat who almost lost his family.
In person, I had a lot more fun with Jason. He had a son that was closer to my age, and so his family was on-set a lot, and so my mom and i were always hanging out with Jason.
In The Santa Clause there's a scene where you, Tim Allen and Bernard are walking to board the slay and ZZ Top is playing in the background. There comes a point where you all stop and do some sort of choreographed dance move. What is the untold story behind that scene?
That scene is the scene we did the day after i knocked my teeth out.
The first AD had to redo the whole schedule for that entire day - I could be on camera but not have any close-ups. So that was the first shot because it was the hallway and it was such a long shot, so you didn't see my face.
The next shot up was when Tim first walks through the toy shop. And Elf Judy and I pull up on a train, and I wave high, the train pulls off frame and my line was dubbed in afterwards. Originally I was supposed to say that line when the train pulled up, but because my teeth & face were all mangled, they ADR'd it in post. That's why my mouth is such a weird smile and I have those big ol' cheeks - I still had front teeth but one was hanging on by one root and moving around...
Do you have plans to act anymore or are you solely focusing on music? Also what is Judge Reinhold like?
Well, Judge Reinhold was a really nice guy. He's super-awesome.
Second, am I still acting? I'm not actively trying to go out and audition on roles. I still do acting for different friend's projects if they need it. I do sound and other jobs on-sets all the time, and when I'm on there, they'll put me in something that happens - like that ChromeSkull movie I did in 2011. I was working in a production office, and they couldn't find someone for the role, and I was still SAG, so they were able to use me.
But plans to act? I'd love to act again and do something but I think I'm gonna make my own way in, starting through the music & my studio and things like that, putting myself into that. When I wanted to get back into acting, they wanted to put me in Disney TV shows. The last agent I was with, when I sat down to have my interview about what i wanted to focus on, I was telling them about all the one-hour dramas I liked, indie films i wanted to do, and the agent looked me and said "oh, you mean REAL acting?" and my jaw dropped. A big change from when I left the industry in the 90's. They wanted me to do Disney TV shows and things like that.
So we'll see! Only time will tell.
What's your favorite ride in Disney?
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN all the way! Pre-Johnny Depp being in there! They ruined my childhood putting an animatronic Johnny Depp in there!
And just so everyone knows, they are trying to take out the Tiki Room, apparently, which was Disney's favorite ride. SO even though it's a lame ride, it's gotta stay for nostalgia purposes.
What kind of kid watches his dad kill Santa and then says, "hey, you should totally take his job"?
Um... I think a lot of kids? It's not like he had a bloody death, or his body is still there. He phased out magically. In the mind of the kid, sometimes it makes sense! Rather than as an adult - where you'd stop to think about it.