ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY CHRISTMAS: Skylar Astin and Austin Winsberg Preview Max's New Power, Bringing in Holiday Music to the Franchise - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY CHRISTMAS: Skylar Astin and Austin Winsberg Preview Max’s New Power, Bringing in Holiday Music to the Franchise

November 30, 2021 by  

Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas spoilers

Skylar Astin and Jane Levy in ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY CHRISTMAS. Credit: The Roku Channel.

It’s a very ZOEY’S Christmas in the new movie Roku Channel film ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY CHRISTMAS, as Zoey (Jane Levy) has to figure out what the holiday season looks like without her father, Mitch (Peter Gallagher).

But it isn’t just holiday shenanigans the film has to juggle: The second season of ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST ended with a cliffhanger, as Max (Skylar Astin) was suddenly able to hear Zoey’s heartsong.

“That was the challenge or the assignment of the movie,” ZOEY’S creator Austin Winsberg says. “Trying to figure out how to make a standalone family holiday film that people coming to the movie having never seen the show before [could understand] and also still trying to honor where we left off in the story—and feel like we can tell a complete story with that, and have some resolution by the end of the movie.”

“So that was the needle that I was trying to thread: how do you make a standalone holiday film, but still continue to storylines that we had ended season 2 on?” he continues. “Hopefully [the audience is] feeling that by the end of the movie, we’ve answered some of the questions that were there at the end of the season.”

For Astin, with Max’s powers revealed in the final moments of the show’s NBC run, he was eager to dig into how exactly these heartsongs might present themselves.

“I was curious in what context he would hear these songs—if he just hears Zoey, if he hears other people singing,” Astin admits. “And I was just excited to see—not just with the power—where this leaves Zoey and Max as a couple. I was delighted to see the direction that it took.”

In fact, after two seasons of will they/won’t they, ZOEY’S CHRISTMAS arguably spends the most time in the franchise exploring Zoey and Max—who reunited in what ended up being the series finale (for now)—as a united duo.

“We’ve always known that Max and Zoey are best friends, but it’s almost been more backstory,” Astin says. “We did see their origin story in the second season, but they were kind of bickering until they learned how to tolerate each other. Even in the pilot, we saw their friendship dynamic until we were privy to Max’s secret crush.”

“So the fact that there is this mutual love and this heart destination that we get at the end of season 2, it really was fun to be in the film and explore our friendship, our humor, and our relationship all at the same time,” he continues. “I know Jane and I had a blast working together; we could barely stop laughing. And I think there’s endless stories to tell within that dynamic. They’re a true team, the ultimate power couple.”

Another dream team? The ZOEY’S franchise and holiday music. After never having any holiday-centric episode (due to it midseason scheduling), Winsberg was “really excited about the opportunities to be able to incorporate holiday songs into something ZOEY’S-related.”

“The challenge when I sat down to come up with the songs was could we make an entire movie only using holiday songs?” he recalls. “Should we do that? And are there enough holiday songs out there that feel like heartsongs? So many Christmas songs—I listened to a lot of them—are songs about the joy of the holiday or ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’ or ‘Jingle Bell’…they’re all great songs, but aren’t songs expressing wants or feelings that much.”

So Winsberg ended up doing a mix: some holiday songs, some non-seasonal tunes. “I thought it would be good to do some of what people are used to from the series and then pepper in a lot of holiday songs throughout,” he previews. “Some big, known songs to go along with the holiday ones.”

The music is also a place where Max’s new power might be able to come in handy as he and Zoey try to navigate the seasonal heartsongs.

“Max has a way broader vocabulary of music,” Astin notes with a laugh. “He knows what songs are. So it’s a lot different when Zoey’s hearing an entire song, and even through that song, she still has to go to Mo and ask what the heck she just heard. Max tends to know, in general—unless it’s some obscure song—what it is and that probably helps him anticipate why it’s happening.”

“You would imagine that these things come naturally easier to Max which can frustrate Zoey, or make Zoey kind of have FOMO,” Astin continues. “It was fun to walk on the clouds as Max, hearing concerts every day. But, as we know, with different genres and different types of songs, that can take any sort of turn.”


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