You’ve heard of A Christmas Carol; now brace yourselves this holiday season for … A Christmas Karen. This modernized take on the ever-popular Charles Dickens story stars Michele Simms as Karen (who you might recognize as the “Oversharing Mom” in the viral Carvana commercials), an entitled middle-aged woman whose Scrooge-esque behavior warrants intervention from three Christmas ghosts. Karen embarks on a hilarious and heartwarming journey of redemption which highlights the lack of civility in our modern world. 

Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with Michele about her role in A Christmas Karen, what audiences can expect, who her three “ghosts” would be and getting to improvise on set. 

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This interview is condensed for length and clarity. 

Melody McCune: We at GGA love a good origin story. What’s Michele Simms’ origin story?

Michele Simms: I was born in Baltimore but grew up in Sarasota. I went to the same high school as Pee-Wee Herman, but not at the same time. Then, after graduating high school, I moved to Orlando and started working in theme parks.

It was fun doing murder mysteries, theme park performing and whatever theater I could get into, and then film and TV. I moved to LA after a divorce with my now-current husband, and we’ve just been kicking ass. That’s how I got here.

Michele Simms as Karen and Leyla Lawrence as Joy, the Ghost of Christmas Present, ride around in a golf cart while smiling in A Christmas Karen.

Pictured: Michele Simms as Karen and Leyla Lawrence as Joy – Ghost of Present in A CHRISTMAS KAREN

MM: Let’s talk about A Christmas Karen. Can you tell me what it’s about and how you got involved with the project?

MS: It’s based on A Christmas Carol, the classic Charles Dickens tale. Scrooge is a Karen, and the three ghosts visit her. They take her through all of it, and she’s a changed woman in the end. It was really fun. I have worked with Renaissance Entertainment [in the past]. I’ve done four films with them now. They’re based in Florida, and their primary productions are in theme parks, but they started doing horror films, and that’s how I got to know them. I auditioned for them in 2007 or 2008 for the first time. They cast me as the b**ch character. I was a bit younger —  blonde and a size two, so it was a different archetype.

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They approached me to see if I wanted to audition for this last year, and I got very excited. I wanted it. We filmed it in Florida for three weeks in Celebration, the Disney town near the parks. It was all decked out for Christmas. We filmed it over the holidays last year, and it was so much fun. Like most film shoots, it’s like going to camp. 

MM: Describe this film using three words.

MS: Funny, hopeful and touching.

MM: Your character says a lot of hilarious lines in the movie, such as, “I promise I’ll never ask to speak to the manager again.” Was there room for improv regarding the script, and was the on-set experience collaborative?

MS: They encouraged me to improvise, which was so fun. It was like a dream come true to be able to improvise. [I had] scenes with Meghan Moroney, who is one of my best friends back in Florida. We were in tune with each other and encouraged to play. It felt good to be trusted with that. 

Michele Simms as Karen and Leyla Lawrence as Joy, the Ghost of Christmas Present, watch on while Robin (Ashley Jones) talks with her daughter Nia (Amina Massai) on a bed in A Christmas Karen.

Pictured (l-r): Amina Massai as Nia, Michele Simms as Karen, Leyla Lawrence as Joy – Ghost of Present and Ashley Jones as Robin in A CHRISTMAS KAREN

MM: What can audiences expect when watching A Christmas Karen?

MS: I think audiences can expect a good time with A Christmas Karen. It’s silly. I don’t think it takes itself too seriously. It’s very goofy. I was nervous going into it because it’s a very delicate subject. How are we going to approach this? As you see in those videos online, these women can be vicious. I wanted to keep it light, and I think we accomplished that. 

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MM: Are you a big fan of Christmas?

MS: I think it depends on the year you ask me. For the most part, I enjoy it, but there have been years I could have done without it. Whether I was having a hard time financially or the year my dad passed away, I remember it was challenging. I feel for anybody going through grief. That makes Christmas not very enjoyable. I’m lucky this year. Things are pretty okay for me. I feel blessed right now, so I feel like I’ll be able to enjoy Christmas.

MM: What do you hope viewers take away from the film?

MS: They have hope that people can change for the better. Sometimes, it takes a little kick in the pants, but change is possible. I want people to feel hope and laugh.

MM: If you were visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, who would they be? Would you be personally connected to them?

MS: I think the Ghost of Christmas Past would probably be my teacher, Rus Blackwell. The Ghost of Christmas Present would be Lauren O’Quinn, a producer of A Christmas Karen. Christmas Future … maybe Bette Midler.

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MM: What else is on the horizon for you, career-wise?

MS: I’ve been auditioning a lot, but I’m still waiting for the next booking. It’s the great unknown. I’m more comfortable with it now than I ever have been.

MM: Name your top five favorite films.

MS: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindBlazing Saddles. Man on the MoonBig BusinessWALL-E.

MM: Michele, thank you so much for chatting with me today!

MS: Thank you, Melody!

A Christmas Karen arrives on demand and digital on Friday, November 18, 2022. You can follow Michele on Instagram (@chelesimms) and Twitter (@CheleSimms). Watch the trailer below!

The poster for the holiday comedy "A Christmas Karen," featuring actress Michele Simms crossing her arms and grimacing while wearing a Santa hat.

This article was originally published on 10/28/22.

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