The new cinematic version of The Grinch stays true to the original Dr. Seuss story and 1966 TV special, but the new animated Cumberbatch-centric flick, which was released on November 9th, adds new characters to the classic Christmas caper. It’s not just the grumpy Grinch, sweet Cindy Lou Who and loyal Max who push the Seuss story forward. There are some new animal sidekicks, including a very large reindeer, and many new Whos. Among this group of Whos characters, there’s Bricklebaum, easily the best new character in the film.
Bricklebaum, voiced by SNL’s Kenan Thompson, is the jolliest Who in all of Whoville and super pumped about Christmas. He’s also neighbors with the most cantankerous being in Whoville or… whatever it is the Grinch actually is. The Grinch’s nastiness does not at all diminish Bricklebaum’s holiday cheer. Bricklebaum even considers his neighbor to be his best friend, though obviously, the Grinch feels quite differently. Thompson talks with Fatherly about voicing this very high-energy character.
“It was awesome,” Thompson says. “I get very excited about Christmas myself, but it was a little exhausting. It took like twenty takes for that guy. Sometimes, we’d record first thing in the morning, so it took a lot of energy. But it was worth it.”
Thompson’s hard work definitely comes through in the film. He displays warmth and enthusiasm in every word he speaks. This seems like even more of a feat knowing that he didn’t even have Benedict Cumberbatch to banter within the recording booth.
“I was totally by myself in my own little mind, which was fine,” Thompson explains. “My character is very one-direction-y anyway. He just wants everyone to be happy and enjoy the festivities.”
Bricklebaum, unsurprisingly, has a very impressive holiday display. He even somehow hauled a sleigh onto his roof. As the Grinch sets his plan to steal Christmas in motion, he and Max determine that Bricklebaum’s sleigh would be a much better vehicle than Christmas decoration. It’s the first thing he steals.
Thompson is excited to share this Christmas movie with his eldest daughter, Georgia Marie, who was born in 2014.
“I think she’s barely aware of the Grinch story,” Thompson says. “I think she knows the Dr. Seuss book, but I don’t think she has watched the Grinch yet. Last year, we were just starting to watch Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman—those old stop-animated versions—which is fun.”
Illumination’s The Grinch is of course not going to usurp Dr. Seuss’s 1966 special, but it is well on its way to becoming a Christmas classic. The Grinch has not only stolen Christmas, but his movie also stolen the box office. The Grinch had the biggest opening of any Christmas-themed movie, making $78.2 million in just four days.
The Grinch is now in theaters.