It looks as though Bad Santa 2 is really, finally happening. A follow-up to the subversive 2003 holiday comedy has been in the works, in some form or another, for the better part of a decade, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that the project gained some serious momentum. Broad Green Pictures is onboard to produce with Billy Bob Thornton reprising his role as the foul-mouthed, alcoholic Willie T. Stokes, and now the film has a director: Mark Waters.
Per THR, the Mean Girls and Mr. Popper’s Penguins helmer has signed on to direct the sequel, following in the footsteps of Bad Santa director Terry Zwigoff. Waters is a bit of an odd choice, with family friendly features like Poppers and The Spiderwick Chronicles amongst his filmography, but he’s also shown a knack for biting wit with comedies like Mean Girls and, most recently, the underrated Vampire Academy. The question now is: does Waters’ hiring mean Broad Green is making a PG-13 sequel, or will the franchise get to keep its R-rating? I can’t imagine the value of a PG-13 Bad Santa movie, so here’s hoping it’s the latter.
The follow-up was scripted by Johnny Rosenthal, Shauna Cross, and Entourage creator Doug Ellin, and Broad Green Pictures is fast tracking the project with filming set to begin in January, so Waters doesn’t have a ton of time to prep for pre-production.
THR adds that original Bad Santa cast members Tony Cox and Brett Kelly (aka a significantly older Thurman Merman) have closed deals to return alongside Thornton, so it should be fun to see this trio back together after 13 years. Producers are currently out to find the movie’s female lead, which was filled by Lauren Graham in the first film. Bad Santa 2 is slated for release sometime during the 2016 holiday season.