Edward Burns retraces Valley Stream roots
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Burns’ own family, which consists of his two siblings and his parents, would celebrate Christmas by opening their gifts in Valley Stream, followed by road trips to visit relatives. “We would load up the car and we would first hit our cousins’ house in Queens, and then we would continue on to New Jersey, which is where we spent the bulk of Christmas with my mom’s brother’s family,” he recalled. “What was great about those Christmases was that there were a ton of adults and a ton of kids. Everybody was packed into a small house, it was just a great kind of chaos. There was a lot of laughter, a lot of great story telling, and people jockeying for air time. I have always just loved a big, crowded, noisy house.”
Aside from it being shot in his hometown, “The Fitzgerald Family Christmas” is not a reflection of Burns’s own life. “My family never had to deal with anything as traumatic as what the Fitzgeralds are going through,” he says of the family that he actually named after his grandmother — Fitzgerald was her maiden name.
“My dad is a great dad,” Burns said when comparing fiction to reality. “However, I think these are universal themes. The movie is set against a specific family from a very specific place. After every Q & A about the film, someone comes up to me and says, ‘I’m not Irish, I’m not Catholic, I’m not from Long Island, but that’s my family up on the screen.’”
The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is now in theaters and on nationwide video on demand.