A movie set to film in Utica starting next month has snagged a major comedian as its star.

After Weeks of Teasing...

WIBX chatted with Utica's film czar, Paul Buckley, about a month ago about two major films set to start rolling cameras in Central New York. He was also joined by one of the directors, Tori Hunter, who hinted a major celebrity was cast in her Christmas movie.

Read More: 2 Major Films Coming to Upstate New York

Her film is presently titled "The Christmas Letter," which is being billed as a nostalgic holiday film that pays tribute to the hilarious Christmas movies of the 80s and 90s. It also challenges the idea that Christmas movies can only be set around the holidays and not any other time of the year.

Hunter's "comedic, heartfelt film" is about "an everyday man who gets a Christmas letter every year from his friend who lives a very different life than him."

Every year unemployed copywriter Joe Michaels reads his wealthy friend's annual over-the-top Christmas letter and feels like a loser, but this year is going to be different.

Michaels has an epiphany that it's time to outshine his wealthy friend and their amazing, yearly exploits.  The protagonist thinks if he is able to have the same lavish lifestyle as his uber rich friend, he'd have a more fulfilling life - so he decides to take his family on "wild, crazy adventures" for a full year so he can write "a Christmas letter that tops his friend's Christmas letter."

behind the scene film crew team filming movie scene on outdoor location group cinema set
batuhan toker

Director Tori Hunter expressed her excitement over the unique film because its timeline gives the movie's protagonist a full year to realize what truly makes him happy, instead of over a course of several days.

She also finally revealed who is set to lead the movie.

Major Win for Comedy Fans

Taking to Facebook, the official account for "The Christmas Movie" posted a video of Hunter finally dropping the bomb.

SNL Legend, "Community" actor and, of course, the star of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" Chevy Chase will play the lead role in the upcoming movie.

"Community" Panel - Comic-Con 2011
John Shearer/Getty Image

Hunter said she cannot wait to see how Chase brings the main character to life and turns Joe Michaels into another legendary Christmas figure like Ralphie, Kevin McCallister, Clark Griswold and more.

He's going to bring a really special comedic genius to a unique character that I'm really excited to bring to life.


Hunter expressed hope the film will become an instant classic because it'll deliver plenty of belly laughs and heartwarming moments.

You can read more about the movie's progress on its official Facebook account.

Filming in Utica is slated to take place from January 2024 to March of 2024.

You can also catch WIBX's interview with Paul Buckley and Tori Hunter below:

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