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Christmas has come early for Legendary and Warner Bros.
The two companies are gearing up to make a sequel to the yuletide holiday classic A Christmas Story, closing a deal for Peter Billingsley, the child star of the original 1983 movie, to topline and produce.
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Titled A Christmas Story Christmas, the feature intended for HBO Max will be directed by Clay Kaytis, who already tackled the snowy holiday season with The Christmas Chronicles for Netflix and has a script by Nick Schenk, the writer behind recent Clint Eastwood movies such as Gran Torino and The Mule, sitting under the leg lamp.
Billingsley is producing with Vince Vaughn via the duo’s Wild West Picture Show Productions.
While the original movie followed Ralphie, a 9-year-old boy who desperately wanted a Red Ryder BB rifle and was set in 1940, the new story will take place in the 1970s and sees an adult Ralphie return to his house on Cleveland Street to deliver his kids a magical Christmas like the one he had growing up.
The studio is hoping to re-create the same real-life tone of the first movie to show the now-father reconnect with childhood friends, reconcile the passing of his Old Man, and callbacks to the initial film.
Production begins in February in Hungary.
Billingsley, as an adult, has focused on a behind-the-camera career. He was a producer on the Broadway musical adaptation of Christmas Story, which received three Tony nominations, as well as on Jon Favreau’s culinary-themed acting talk show Dinner for Five. He is also an exec producer with Vaughn on Netflix’s animated F Is for Family and directed the Universal comedy Couple Retreat.
Kaytis began his career in the animation world, working on Disney’s Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph, and co-directed The Angry Birds Movie.
Billingsley is repped by attorney Mitch Smelkinson while Kaytis is with UTA, Artists First and Binder Weston. Schenk is repped by Management 360 and Lichter Grossman.