‘Bad Santa 2’ Director: Billy Bob Wanted ‘Any Crude, Awful Joke’ in Film

Christina Dun
Variety

“You can’t do a Bad Santa with just me,” said Billy Bob Thornton at the “Bad Santa 2” premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Center in NYC. “You gotta have Brett [Kelly] and Tony [Cox], because it’s the trio. We’re the ZZ Top of nasty Christmas movies.”

It’s been 13 years since “Bad Santa” bowed and now it’s back with even more raunchy jokes and loud-mouthed humor from its original faces – apart from the late Bernie Mac. Thornton reprises his role as Willie, who along with Kelly (who plays Thurman Merman) and Cox (who portrays Marcus), gets into even more holiday shenanigans.

This time around, they’re joined by big names including Kathy Bates, who plays Thornton’s mother, and Christina Hendricks, who is Thornton’s love interest.

Bates, however, is not your typical mom.

“She doesn’t take crap from anybody. She drinks hard, smokes hard, she’s a tough lady,” Bates shared. “I think what’s cool about the movie is that when she does get together with her son after all of this time, there are moments when she does feel that tug and remembers the old days.”

The film gets down to Willie’s roots and has a lot of heart.

“It shows where Willie came from and why he’s the way he is,” said Thornton. “This one has got more emotion in it than the first one.”

This was a new type of film for director Mark Waters (“Mean Girls”). “[Billy Bob] said to me, by the way, we can say anything we want, do anything we want. Any crude, awful joke you’ve had up your sleeve, this is your time to put it in a movie,” said Waters. “I was able to let it rip without any filter. It was great.”

As for a possibility of a third film?

“That depends on if this one’s successful,” Thornton told Variety. “If it’s successful and they want to do it, I sure would be open to it. Next time though, maybe somewhere warmer, like Hawaii.”

The film was shot in Montreal, where Bates recalls a fond memory of “freezing [their] rear ends off.”

Following the screening was an energetic after party at Ascent in Columbus Circle. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails were served and the dance floor was bumping.

“Bad Santa 2” bows Nov. 23.

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