Holiday in the Wild
|Holiday in the Wild|
|Directed by||Ernie Barbarash|
|Music by||Alan Lazar|
|Cinematography||Hein de Vos|
|Edited by||Heath Ryan|
After their son Luke leaves for college, Kate Conrad surprises her husband Drew with a second honeymoon to Zambia. Drew confesses that he is no longer in love with her and was waiting for their son to go to college before ending the marriage. Kate decides to go on the trip alone. At dinner that evening, a man at the bar, Derek, notices her and strikes up a conversation with her. Kate irritably confesses her situation and then leaves in a huff. The next day, Kate arrives for a chartered flight to her next resort, only to find Derek is the pilot. During the flight, Derek unexpectedly lands the plane in the wild. They discover a traumatized baby elephant whose mother has been killed by poachers. Kate is intrigued by the elephant and when the rescue team arrives, Kate offers her services.
At the sanctuary, Kate meets Derek's South African girlfriend, Leslie, who is part of the foundation that funds the sanctuary. She forms a special bond with the elephant she and Derek found, and Derek's friend Jonathan suggests the name “Manu”, which means “second son”. Kate extends her stay, even celebrating the Christmas season at the sanctuary. Her relationship with Derek deepens as they talk about their previous lives. But Kate is upset when she receives divorce papers from Drew at the Sanctuary. Luke comes to the sanctuary for Christmas and confesses he is unhappy in his business course; he wants to be a musician. Kate discourages him from this.
Leslie is angered when she discovers a portrait of Kate that Derek drew. Leslie asks Derek to go away with her, but he refuses and breaks up with her. She retorts that the board will cut funding for the sanctuary. Kate finally returns to New York, where she takes a job as a vet. She convinces her son to continue in college, but to study music. On New Year's Eve, Kate calls Jonathan, and he relays that the sanctuary cannot continue operating much longer due to the cut in funding. Kate begins a fundraising campaign by asking for help from her friends and ex-husband, and also sells her jewelry and other things. The fundraising is successful and the sanctuary stays afloat. After visits from pampered pets, Kate realizes her job as a vet in New York is not fulfilling her, so she sells her apartment then buys a one-way ticket back to Zambia to be with Derek and the elephants.
Kate and Derek get married. When the day comes to release Manu back to the wild with other elephants, Derek and Kate tearfully say goodbye.
- Kristin Davis as Kate Conrad
- Rob Lowe as Derek Hollistan
- Fezile Mpela as Jonathan
- John Owen Lowe as Luke Conrad
- Colin Moss as Drew Conrad
- Hayley Owen as Leslie Van De Mere-Jones
- Faniswa Yisa as Aliyah
- Thandi Puren as Trish
- Renate Stuurman as Tabitha
- Keeno Lee Hector as Doorman
In May 2018, it was reported that Ernie Barbarash would direct Christmas in the Wild for Netflix from a screenplay by Neal Dobrofsky and Tippi Dobrofsky. It stars Rob Lowe and Kristin Davis. Filming was to take place in Hoedspruit and Drakensberg, and on sets in and around Cape Town. Principal photography began in June 2018.
The elephant scenes were filmed at a sanctuary in South Africa, and at Game Rangers International Elephant Orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia. Huge efforts and systems were in place to safeguard the elephants, including a focused behaviour study, personnel and distance restrictions, and international animal welfare inspectors.
Due to GRI's strict elephant management protocols and minimal impact policies, and in alignment with Netflix's high animal welfare standards, it became apparent that a ‘body double’ would be required for the majority of filming, and Netflix invested hugely in ensuring that the puppets required were the spitting image of the real-life orphaned elephant Mkaliva! Mkaliva was rescued by GRI and the Department of National Parks & Wildlife in Zambia in August 2017. Her story closely aligns with that portrayed in the film, as both elephants experienced the same physical and emotional traumas when losing their mothers and herd.
In the film, Rob Lowe's son, John Owen Lowe, played the son of Kristin Davis. Rob Lowe said of working together, "It was great. It was really fun."
A feature article "The Making of Holiday in the Wild" is planned for release before the end of 2019.
Holiday in the Wild was released on November 1, 2019 by Netflix.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 50% based on 6 reviews, with an average rating of 4.95/10. The Guardian newspaper gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, with Stuart Heritage noting that "Holiday in the Wild is a nice, pretty, easy, undemanding film, which is ultimately what people want from their Christmas output. It’s cheesy, it’s stupid, but it’s also really quite charming." Emma Specter also wrote enthusiastically about the film for Vogue. Brie Schwartz wrote positively about the film for O, The Oprah Magazine commending the locations and affirming that "at its heart, the Kristen Davis and Rob Lowe-led flick, is a valentine to elephant conservation."
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- "PICS: Rob Lowe and Kristin Davis filming new movie in SA". Channel 24. July 6, 2018.
- "Rob Lowe on Working with His Son, Reuniting with Kristin Davis in 'Holiday in the Wild' | ExtraTV.com". Extra. November 3, 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
- "Holiday in the Wild (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
- Heritage, Stuart (2019-11-01). "Holiday in the Wild – festive Netflix rom-com is stupid but charming". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
- Specter, Emma (November 7, 2019). "42 Things I Thought While Watching Netflix's "Holiday in the Wild"". Vogue. Retrieved 2019-11-10.