Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: First Trailer For Gillian Flynn's 'Dark Places' Starring Charlize Theron, Chloë Moretz, And Nicholas Hoult Watch: First Trailer For Gillian Flynn's 'Dark Places' Starring Charlize Theron, Chloë Moretz, And Nicholas Hoult Review: Neill Blomkamp's 'Chappie,' Starring Die Antwoord, Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver And Hugh Jackman Review: Neill Blomkamp's 'Chappie,' Starring Die Antwoord, Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver And Hugh Jackman 'Chappie' Actor Admits There Was "Tension" On Set With Die Antwoord's Ninja; Check Out Two New Featurettes 'Chappie' Actor Admits There Was "Tension" On Set With Die Antwoord's Ninja; Check Out Two New Featurettes Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Actor Contenders Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Actor Contenders 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Line-Up Announced: James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries,’ Olivia Wilde In ‘Meadowland’ & More 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Line-Up Announced: James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries,’ Olivia Wilde In ‘Meadowland’ & More First Look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Edward Snowden In Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' First Look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Edward Snowden In Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' Drew Goddard To Write And Direct Sony & Marvel's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'; 'Sinister Six' Scrapped Drew Goddard To Write And Direct Sony & Marvel's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'; 'Sinister Six' Scrapped Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Picture Contenders Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Picture Contenders Watch: Original Short Film Version Of 'Whiplash' Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons Watch: Original Short Film Version Of 'Whiplash' Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons Watch: Nifty Video Examines David Fincher’s Subtle Repetition Of Framing And Blocking In 'Gone Girl' Watch: Nifty Video Examines David Fincher’s Subtle Repetition Of Framing And Blocking In 'Gone Girl' Sigourney Weaver Says She'll Be Playing A New Character In The 'Avatar' Sequels Sigourney Weaver Says She'll Be Playing A New Character In The 'Avatar' Sequels Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt’s Untitled Montana Drama With Michelle Williams & More Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt’s Untitled Montana Drama With Michelle Williams & More 'Prisoners' & 'Enemy' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Harrison Ford Confirmed To Return 'Prisoners' & 'Enemy' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Harrison Ford Confirmed To Return The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To 'Elysium' And "Do It Correctly" "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To 'Elysium' And "Do It Correctly" The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

Dimension Makes Sure 'Bad Santa 2' Will Be Doubly Excellent By Commissioning Two Competing Scripts

The Playlist By Sam Price | The Playlist July 15, 2011 at 1:00AM

In the years since “Bad Santa” was released in 2003, it’s become something of a holiday season anarcho-classic and alternate required viewing to off-set the occasionally cloying feel-goodery of bona fide golden oldies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” It’s also one of the few legitimate bright spots in the wizened and dull sub-genre of the “Christmas movie” that’s been particularly bankrupt of late (to wit: “Christmas with the Kranks,” “Fred Claus,” “Four Christmases,” Billy Bob Thornton’s own “Ice Harvest,” etc) which tend to be lazily executed and have an extremely short cultural shelf life. Talk of a sequel has been bandied about for years but only recently did “Bad Santa 2” seem to gain any traction, first with star Thornton announcing he’d be up for it and now, as The LA Times reports, the hiring of two writers, Johnny Rosenthal and John Phillips who, somewhat bizarrely, will write separate and competing drafts of the same film. The ‘winning’ script will move forward into production for a mooted Christmas 2012 release date, with the possibility of material in the other script being folded into another potential sequel.
1


In the years since “Bad Santa” was released in 2003, it’s become something of a holiday season anarcho-classic and alternate required viewing to off-set the occasionally cloying feel-goodery of bona fide golden oldies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” It’s also one of the few legitimate bright spots in the wizened and dull sub-genre of the “Christmas movie” that’s been particularly bankrupt of late (to wit: “Christmas with the Kranks,” “Fred Claus,” “Four Christmases,” Billy Bob Thornton’s own “Ice Harvest,” etc) which tend to be lazily executed and have an extremely short cultural shelf life. Talk of a sequel has been bandied about for years but only recently did “Bad Santa 2” seem to gain any traction, first with star Thornton announcing he’d be up for it and now, as The LA Times reports, the hiring of two writers, Johnny Rosenthal and John Phillips who, somewhat bizarrely, will write separate and competing drafts of the same film. The ‘winning’ script will move forward into production for a mooted Christmas 2012 release date, with the possibility of material in the other script being folded into another potential sequel.

While it would probably pay to stay cautiously optimistic on this one -- it was one of several projects in raft of sequels The Weinstein Company announced back in December of last year that also included the dubious prospect of “Shakespeare in Love 2” and a second hit of “Rounders” – Dimension Films, who are overseeing the production, do at least seem to be putting in a modicum of effort in what could otherwise have been a cynical and calculated cash-grab. For sure, both writers are untested and have yet to have a work produced, although Phillips’ “Dirty Grandpa” about a randy “sexually aggressive” senior citizen seems fairly close to the mark and Rosenthal’s "Iron Jack" sold for a hefty price back in 2009.

Thornton himself, whose career had become a little aimless and unsuccessful until he recently began work directing “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” would probably relish the opportunity to get back into the red and white duds which gave his career a new lease of life eight years ago, as the booze-swillin’ potty-mouthed misanthrope Willie T. Stokes who we last saw becoming a "sensitivity trainer" for the police department. But the original film’s director, Terry Zwigoff, one of the most talented directors of his generation, who’s seemingly been banished to director jail since the mediocre reception of “Art School Confidential,” does not look to be returning and neither will the film’s original writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa who, having enjoyed artistic if not commercial success after helming “I Love You Phillip Morris,” have the Steve Carrell comedy “Crazy Stupid Love” in the can for release at the end of the month.

In addition, two of the original stars of “Bad Santa,” John Ritter and Bernie Mac, have since passed away and another (Brett Kelly as “Thurman Merman”) has grown up. The premise of the first film – a wily short-con grifter invades a small-town mall and masquerades as Kris Kringle to fleece the place dry on Christmas Eve – is at least fairly malleable, not predicated on cheap gimmicks to the same degree as, say, the “Big Momma’s House” movies which have somehow managed to luck themselves into a franchise.

It’s notoriously hard to make a follow-up to a beloved comedy, and the streets are paved with the corpses of the films that tried (“Mean Girls 2,” “Son of the Mask,” and “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” and, for that matter, “Airplane II: The Sequel” and “Caddyshack II”), so we'll reserve judgment until more details are announced. So while you might not want to start doing cartwheels just yet, nor understand quite why this unorthodox approach to the screenplay is going ahead, take some solace in the fact that if this is going to be a badly executed sequel to a film thousands of people hold in rather in high regard, it'll probably at least be one that's a profane black comedy instead of, you know, Vince Vaughn falling over on multiple occasions.

This article is related to: Films, Bad Santa 2


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates