Kathy Bates, Billy Bob Thornton and Mark Waters get mean again in ‘Bad Santa 2’

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Director Mark Waters brought the mean in Mean Girls. Kathy Bates has been bringing the mean in American Horror Story. Billy Bob Thornton brought the mean in Bad Santa. The three meanies have now teamed up for Bad Santa 2. Thornton reprises his role as the greedy, whiskey-soaked anti-hero, Willie Soke. Bates joined the second go round as Soke’s horror story of a mother, Sunny.

“The first movie has become iconic,” says Billy Bob Thornton, a Golden Globe nominee for his portrayal of Willie Soke. “You have a feeling when you’re doing it that there are certain moments that are classic— when you have something like that, you have a tall order when you’re going to do a sequel because it has infiltrated the culture in some way.”

Director Mark Waters referenced the “bizarre chemistry” of the first movie, which drew his interest in directing a follow-up film. “I loved the movie when I saw it, and tried to turn my friends on to seeing it,” he recalls. “It got laughs where you gasp first, and then laugh, but somehow it works as comedy.”

Waters says, “the fact that Billy Bob was doing this sequel made it intriguing for me. I’m a huge admirer of that guy’s talent.

“The thing that was most attractive about it,” Waters continues, “was that we could make this really raunchy Christmas movie while sneakily making an actual Christmas movie.”

Billy Bob Thornton was adamant that there had to be both a demand and the right elements in place to make the follow-up film work. “Some movies shouldn’t have a sequel and some should,” says Thornton. “This was a movie that people loved and there are a lot who are fanatics about it, so we thought it deserved a sequel.”

One of Bad Santa’s biggest fans was Kathy Bates. “Bad Santa is one of my favorites. I just loved it, and oddly enough, had seen it again last summer before I had been invited to do the part, so it was even more exciting when I got the news. It was ‘Hot damn, yep, I’m in there.’ Any of my friends that I told I was going to do it said, ‘Oh my god, it’s perfect.’”

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Frederick Mintchell

Frederick is a featured writer for Morning Ticker, where this post originally appeared.

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