Black Christmas Star Cary Elwes Reveals What Drew Him to the New Take on the Classic

Landing in theaters this past weekend was the second remake of 1974's Black Christmas, which was co-written by April Wolfe and Sophia Takal, with Takal also serving as director. While the film might not have been a blockbuster financially, it sparked some immensely passionate responses from audiences, as the film shifted focus away from the source material's narrative to explore themes of misogyny and sexual assault in university culture. In this take on the concept, Cary Elwes stars as Professor Gelson, a figure who has come under fire for his possibly sexist behaviors, though it's unclear how much of those punitive measures are warranted or if some students might be overreacting.

"Our industry is still very much a male-driven industry, as you know, and many workplaces are still male-driven, and to be able to channel this guy wasn't hard for me because there's plenty of people with archaic thinking in this community," Elwes shared with of playing the character. "I just tried to make him as ... I don't judge him, let me put it that way."

He added, "We've seen egregious behavior, unfortunately, in this town, which has made, thank God, the movement that was way overdue and it's refreshing to come across a script that actually addresses that."

In the film, Hawthorne College is quieting down for the holidays. But as Riley Stone and her Mu Kappa Epsilon sisters — athlete Marty, rebel Kris, and foodie Jesse — prepare to deck the halls with a series of seasonal parties, a black-masked stalker begins killing sorority women one by one. As the body count rises, Riley and her squad start to question whether they can trust any man, including Marty’s beta-male boyfriend, Nate, Riley’s new crush Landon or even esteemed classics instructor Professor Gelson. Whoever the killer is, he’s about to discover that this generation’s young women aren’t about to be anybody’s victims.

Some horror fans were apprehensive to see a film getting a second remake, though Elwes noted that it was this iteration's departure from the source material that drew him to the project.

"The draw, obviously, was that it was a fresh take on the genre and that it had a strong comment," the actor noted. "These were very powerful women fighting back and I think audiences are tired of the usual cliches of women being exploited and victimized, and then the sexuality in horror films. I think audiences are tired of that."

Elwes pointed out, "It's not necessarily a remake and more for reimagining. As we've discussed, the themes of it are very different in this one. So that's what makes it interesting to me, that it actually had such logical and physical beings running through it, which, we blocked a scene with Jordan Peele films, one that has the people react strongly, too. And I think the audiences say they want more [films like that]."


Black Christmas is in theaters now.

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