The creative partnership between Billy Bob Thornton and the Coen Brothers has been a fruitful one – producing The Man Who Wasn’t There, Intolerable Cruelty, the first season of the television series of Fargo, and Bad Santa. It is this film, and the role of professional thief Willie, that is most closely associated with the actor – which itself is testament to the enduring appeal of the movie. While a sequel has long been rumoured, Miramax has now confirmed the shooting schedule and release date for Bad Santa 2.
“Miramax and Broad Green Pictures announced today that Billy Bob Thornton (television series Fargo, Sling Blade, A Simple Plan, Bandits) will reprise his signature role as Willie Soke in Bad Santa 2, the follow-up to the raucous comedy hit Bad Santa, first released in 2003. Geyer Kosinski (the television series Fargo) will produce.
“Miramax will partner with Broad Green Pictures to co-finance and co-produce. Broad Green will distribute Bad Santa 2 theatrically in the U.S during the 2016 holiday season. Sierra/Affinity will handle the foreign sales staring at the upcoming American Film Market (November 4-11 2015).
“’We’ve been waiting far too long to see Billy Bob’s Willie Soke mess with the holiday season in his own unique way,’ said Zanne Devine, Miramax’s EVP of film and TV. ‘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 humour and characters that made this movie brand iconic in the first place.’
“‘Bad Santa has been part of our annual family holiday tradition ever since we first all saw it together at our neighbourhood theatre,’ said Broad Green Pictures CEO Gabriel Hammond and CCO Daniel Hammond. ‘We are excited to bring this memorable character and new chapter back to the big screen.’”
The first film saw Willie and his partner in crime, Tony, pose as Santa and his Elf every year, in order to rob shopping malls. The edgy feel-good festive film throws the two professional thieves into a whirlwind of problems, though, when Willie bonds with a young boy, who is himself a social outcast. The supporting cast featured John Ritter and Bernie Mac – both of whom have since passed away. Lauren Graham also starred, as the romantic interest for Billy Bob Thornton’s troubled character.
There are no details as yet regarding what the plot of Bad Santa 2 may entail, or who may now fill out the wider cast list, but with principal photography due to begin in Canada in January 2016, it shouldn’t be long before we find out.