Billy Bob Thornton is dusting off his awkwardly fitting fake beard for Bad Santa 2, a sequel to the filthy 2003 Christmas comedy. Geyer Kosinski (The Bad News Bears, the TV adaptation of Fargo) will produce; Miramax and Broad Green Pictures will co-finance and co-produce, with American distribution from Broad Green during the 2016 holiday season.
The original Bad Santa starred Thornton as foul-mouthed, alcoholic sex addict Willie T. Stokes, who works as a shopping mall Santa Claus – beside elf assistant Marcus (Tony Cox) – as a front for robbing the businesses at night. The film was directed by Terry Zwigoff and co-written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (with script alterations by executive producers Joel and Ethan Coen).
Produced on a $23 million budget, Bad Santa grossed over $76 million worldwide, earning mostly favorable reviews. “It could become a Christmas perennial for Scrooges of all ages,” wrote Peter Travers in his Rolling Stone review.
A sequel has been in development for several years, with an initial deal announced in 2010. “It’s been very hard trying to get the script right,” Thornton told The Observer in 2013 (via The Telegraph). “We’ve been through three or four drafts but we’re getting real close. Then there’s the business dealings to sort out, all the stuff I don’t understand. But one way or another, the sequel will happen and the idea is to shoot it next year. We know we’ll never beat the first film, but we’ll get as close as we can.”
“We’ve been waiting far too long to see Billy Bob’s Willie Soke mess with the holiday season in his own unique way,” Zanne Devine, Miramax’s EVP of Film & TV, said in a statement announcing the sequel. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Billy Bob, the entire creative and producing team, and Broad Green and Sierra/Affinity to bring back the outrageous humor and characters that made this movie brand iconic in the first place.”
Principal photography will begin in January 2016 in Montréal.