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Michael Keaton is reincarnated as a snowman in "Jack Frost"

'Jack Frost' breathes new life into a classic tale

Web posted on:
Friday, December 11, 1998 4:57:30 PM EST

From Correspondent Bill Tush

NEW YORK (CNN) -- It's that time of year again, when films filled with holiday cheer dominate the airwaves and theaters. Joining this year's list is "Jack Frost," starring Michael Keaton as a musician-turned-snowman.

Keaton plays the intrepid Jack Frost, a musician whose career takes him on the road and away from his wife and son. But Jack takes one trip too many, and finds himself fronting that big rock band in the sky, leaving his son alone and forlorn.

Despite this sad beginning, the film is ultimately uplifting. In an effort to finally bond with his son, Jack returns as a walking, talking version of one of our favorite winter icons -- a snowman.

It is a family film, something the onetime "Batman" admits he's never starred in before: "I've never been in a family movie," says Keaton, but "I didn't do it to say I wanted to do something for my child. ... If I didn't think it was good, I wouldn't have done it."

Some holiday films, like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," become part of culture through their yearly airing on TV, Keaton notes: "(They) become a part of your consciousness, you associate with them." "I'm not saying ('Jack Frost') will have the impact that 'It's a Wonderful Life' does," Keaton says. But if "Jack Frost" were to become part of the holiday culture, he adds, that "would be really nice."

Kelly Preston and Joseph Cross play Keaton's wife and son

Avoiding the cold shoulder

Of course, updating a classic like "Frosty the Snowman," which inspired "Jack Frost," isn't always easy, as Keaton co-star Kelly Preston is quick to acknowledge. "I was feeling, don't mess with Frosty 'cause I love watching that animated movie," she says. After all, Frosty the Snowman ranks right up at the top of the list with other holiday icons like the Grinch and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. "So I was very concerned because it's a part of my childhood, so much a part of my growing up," she says.

Speaking of growing up, young Joseph Cross is doing just that with this film. Sage for his age, he noted that thanks to this film, he can in a sense always be a child -- "(It's) like the Brady Bunch, how they have reruns" where an actress is really small, but in reality "she's like 40." On film, you never have to grow up.

Which is a good thing for Keaton who, by his own admission, had more fun pretending to be a rock star than being a snowman. Like an oversized kid, Keaton says playing the leader of a rock band was "the fun part of showing up on set in a movie like this with these people."

And you can share in the fun by checking out "Jack Frost," showing up this weekend at a theater near you. You never know, this one could become a regular part of your holiday viewing.

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