Tim Allen Almost Had A Nervous Breakdown During Terrible Experience On Set

Tim Allen nearly had a nervous breakdown during the arduous makeup process of The Santa Clause.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

Tim Allen, whose stardom has persisted since the 1990s, has lent his charm to a number of childhood-defining roles. As he set out to reprise one of his most iconic characters for this holiday season’s The Santa Clauses, the joy of the character was disrupted. Per US Weekly, the original makeup process from the first Santa Clause movie that transforms Allen into Saint Nick nearly pushed the actor to a nervous breakdown.

Although Allen loves people’s smiles upon seeing him back in the Santa suit, the process of becoming Kris Kringle can be excruciating. In the Us Weekly interview, Tim Allen pulled back the curtain on the magic workshop that transforms the former Home Improvement star into the jolly Saint Nick. As it turns out, the process is not so jolly. 

tim allen the santa clause

It starts with the suit. Allen explains the classic red duds are heavy and hot. Over the course of a 12-hour filming day, the weight takes a toll. The burdensome wardrobe had Allen taking a seat alone between takes, unable to socialize as he focused on his breathing.

On top of that, there is the matter of makeup. Tim Allen’s trademark Santa Claus look relies on impressive prosthetics and applied white whiskers to reshape his face. While the star admits that the teams involved have gotten the transformation time down over the years (from four hours to two and a half), the process still takes it out of him.

The worst of the endeavor involved what Allen called a 30-minute, “torture test.” To create Allen’s prosthetics, artists needed to create a mold of Allen’s face. They poured liquid plaster over his face that had to sit and harden for half an hour. Allen’s only means of breathing were two straws protruding from his nostrils. In a process that Allen was assured many don’t complete, he felt he may have a nervous breakdown.

Even with long, hot days on set and a prosthetically frozen face that can barely eat or drink, Tim Allen loves to play Santa Claus. He recalled the stunned smiles of the cast and crew when he came on set as Santa again, and despite the challenges, Allen made good on his return.

Though Tim Allen’s iconic Buzz Lightyear role was recently recast, with Chris Evans voicing the overzealous space ranger in Disney-Pixar’s Lightyear, continuing this family Santa Claus story seems impossible without its beloved Saint Nick. That, however, is exactly Santa’s goal in the new series.

The Santa Clauses picks up with Allen’s Scott Calvin, aka Santa, now 65 and looking to retire. As he balances family life and the search for a suitable replacement, Allen is joined in the series by faces new and old. Actress Elizabeth Mitchell reprises her role as Carol Calvin or Mrs. Claus, and franchise newcomers Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar, Smile) and Allen’s daughter, Elizabeth Allen-Dick, are set to appear in the holiday outing.

The series looks to view the world of Santa Claus through an international lens, enlisting another 90’s television star to expand the Christmas cavalry. Laura San Giacomo (Just Shoot Me) plays Befana the Christmas Witch, an Italian folk legend who delivers candy to the children of Italy on Epiphany Eve. Whether Befana plays friend or foe to Saint Nick is unknown.

Tim Allen’s journey as Santa Claus continues November 16, 2022 on Disney Plus.