Kelsey Grammer on 'Frasier' Revival and Falling In Love With Billy Ray Cyrus
Find out what he really thinks of those Frasier Crane-millennial memes.
Kelsey Grammer celebrates the holidays on holiday in Christmas In Paradise. Co-starring Elizabeth Hurley, the movie finds James Christmas (Grammer) relaxing in the Caribbean after a breakup with pal Jimmy (Billy Ray Cyrus)—until his daughters (Hurley, Nathalie Cox and Naomi Frederick) intrude on his plans in an effort to bring him their own brand of merriment.
The festive film comes on the heels of news that Grammer will reprise his most iconic role in a Frasier revival. But make no mistake: The star, who has spent more than 40 years working in front of and behind the camera, has an eclectic resume of roles, including everything from Ebenezer Scrooge and Beast in X-Men, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I have had good fortune since Frasier to do several movies and never really repeat a role, which makes me happy," Grammer told Parade. "It's why I became an actor in the first place."
Still, it's great to come home to the cozy and familiar—which is why he also loves doing an annual Christmas movie if he can.
Read on to find out Kelsey Grammer's surprising pick for his favorite Christmas movie, how and why he "fell in love" with Billy Ray Cyrus and how the Frasier revival will be different from its predecessor.
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This is your second Christmas movie with Elizabeth Hurley.
Kelsey Grammer: And as my daughter, which is a very interesting phenomenon!
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And she's only 10 years younger! What's your favorite part of working together?
She's great fun! All the girls are great fun. It's really sweet. It's quite lovely.
She's so much fun, and she really took me by surprise when she did the Austin Powers movie. I'm just so impressed at her sense of self on film, she's so charming and self-effacing and fun, and that's just who she is. If there's a favorite part, it's simply working with her.
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Are there any other stars you want to work with?
There's a whole bunch of people I'd love to work with! I may be undesirable for those people, but who knows? For now, I'll say Gregory Peck and Jimmy Stewart, though obviously, that's quite unlikely!
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In the movie, your character is celebrating the holidays in the Caribbean. What's your favorite place to spend Christmas?
I've done all of them—the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean are fine with me. I don't need winter to remind me that it's a holy birthday, but I do enjoy the gift-giving and fireplaces and skiing associated with colder places.
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Your daughters basically crash your Christmas plans in the film in an effort to "save" you. Have you ever had experiences with your own family like that?
In the film, it's all quite lovely—they're there for good reasons and the best of intentions. In the previous film, he left the girls in one world and left to find himself in another, and they're a bit holier than thou. It's still a tentative and insecure attachment and they dive right out. With my real kids, though, I've never had to worry about that!
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Billy Ray Cyrus performs original songs in Christmas In Paradise. Do you have a favorite of his?
The one called "Time" is fantastic. It's a great song. He sang some wonderful things and I was really impressed. We hit it off and I sort of fell in love with Billy. It doesn't happen often but sometimes you meet someone and just click. We'll connect from time to time and now he's always going to be in my meaning of Christmas. He's like a wandering minstrel angel in the movie, always with his cowboy boots on. He's a wonder.
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You've been in several Christmas movies. Do you have a favorite holiday movie of your own that you find yourself rewatching every December?
It's A Wonderful Life is one I stick with. I love the old Christmas Carol but my favorite of all after my own is the one with Mr. Magoo. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol is the absolute best.
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What's your all-time favorite Christmas song?
"White Christmas" is pretty amazing. It's fantastic, and I love the military association with it.
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When do you start decorating and listening to Christmas music? Are you more of a Nov. 1 type or do you prefer to wait until post-Thanksgiving?
I start in December, a couple of weeks before the Christmas holiday. This year I'm shooting a film up until the 19th, so some prep has to be done without me. Then I'll have five days to slam into Christmas.
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Have you seen the comparisons between Frasier Crane and the average millennial? Do you have any thoughts on those?
It was pretty funny! What's odd is Frasier Crane is a reflection of me. I could quote Shakespeare when I was 18 years old—that's who I am and how I grew up.
As for the meme, I think it was very charming and funny and, honestly, it is a little more disturbing on some level. I mean, Frasier was an adult.
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Can you give us any crumbs about the upcoming Frasier revival?
It's a third or fourth act for the character. We'll cover his life in Chicago to some degree. There will be some honorifics of the past—we'll honor John Mahoney, and there will be a sense that he is still in touch with his other family but he's in a new life. He ends up in a life that he didn't anticipate.
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You have Jesus Revolution based on Pastor Greg Laurie coming in 2023 and you're hosting FBN's Historic Battles for America: Crucial Conflicts. At this point, is there anything new you still want to do?
Chuck Smith is the fellow I play that started the Jesus movement. The inception was basically with Chuck Smith bringing in the hippies.
The next thing I'm doing is a futuristic weird dystopian sci-fi movie. It's really fun, but I'm walking through the desert quite a bit, which I'm not looking forward to!
I have had good fortune since Frasier to do several movies and never really repeat a role, which makes me happy. It's why I became an actor in the first place.
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And lastly, what's on your Christmas list this year?
My Christmas list is empty. I honestly have everything I ever wanted.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Christmas In Paradise will be released on-demand, digital, Blu-Ray and DVD starting Nov. 15, 2022.
Next, find out how to listen to Christmas music on the radio 24/7.