On David Hubbard's script:
"I've always believed in the spiritual side of life and about how people can really make a difference in their lives if they're willing to believe and have faith in themselves and even sometimes trust the supernatural. I also firmly believe there are angels around us, and there are things that guide us through life, that everything happens for a reason. These three stories intrigued me. David's script blended them so perfectly, and they were presented in such a way that I don't remember ever seeing before. This is not a traditional holiday film. It has some very dark moments, but what makes it interesting to me is in any film where you show the light, you must show the darkness. I was excited about the prospect of making this film."
On cinematographer Russell Carpenter:
"I was lucky enough to have a world-class cinematographer to help me with the technical side of the filming, so I was free to delve even deeper with the actors."
On being an actor directing actors:
"I think they (the actors) trust that because of my experience as an actor, I know the roads they're trying to find, and we have a shorthand between us as actors. I never want them to have a false beat."
On Susan Sarandon:
"Susan Sarandon is one of the most brilliant actors in the business, and I can say that with even more conviction having now directed her. The great thing about Susan is with this type of material, there's a danger of being overly sentimental, and she just strips all that away, and instead of falling into that trap, brings such strength and color to the character."
On Penelope Cruz and Paul Walker:
"When I saw Penelope and Paul working, I thought 'could there be two more beautiful people that could be together?' She brought a freshness and sexiness to the role that was just mesmerizing. As for Paul, I had seen his earlier movies, and I felt he had a talent that had not yet been tapped. I'm excited to say he has brought so much to the table and scored on every note."
On Alan Arkin:
"Alan had to walk a very fine line with that character. It's a funny part, a dramatic part and a sad part. If it goes too far one way, it becomes a caricature, and you're laughing for the wrong reasons. If it's too far on the other side, it becomes melodramatic. Alan made it real. He truly is a comic genius, and he could be edgy, funny, sardonic, nasty and real all in the same take."
On Marcus Thomas:
"People are going to see him in a big way in this film. Marcus is a very talented actor who has a natural ability to be liked, even when playing a character like Jules, who could easily go the other way. The joy of making independent films is that you're able to give a chance to an actor that he wouldn't ordinarily get from a studio until much later in his career. Marcus proved he deserved that chance."
On directing himself in NOEL:
"I've directed myself on stage, but it was a lot different than in the movies. Luckily it was a small part, so it was only one day. The great thing about directing yourself is that nobody can tell you what to do. I enjoyed that a lot."
On filming in Montreal:
"I am a New York guy, and to be honest, in the beginning I was skeptical about it. I wasn't sure it would look like the city. But when we went to scout locations, I began to see the similarities and possibilities. We found more than enough streets and neighborhoods that really served us well. What was also great was that we didn't have to put up with the tremendous traffic and extra heavy congestion that takes over the New York streets between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we were filming. The location turned out to be heaven sent."
On the special quality of NOEL:
"When I was reading the script, I was really excited about doing it, but until I started to see the dailies, I didn't realize how special it was."
On what he hopes audiences will take away from NOEL:
"What I hope is that our film will ultimately make people feel good about themselves, make them think about things they should say to their loved ones that are here now and that are gone. It is a movie about miracles. In this day and age, I think we all need a miracle."