"Bad Santa" is one of the more beloved dark comedies out there, and a movie whose sequel gets fans either excited or worried, sometimes both. But how do the people who wrote the original feel about a new edition of the Billy Bob Thornton hit?
Glen Ficarra and John Requa, the "Bad Santa" scribes whose new directorial effort, "Crazy, Stupid, Love," hits theaters Friday, said they believed that those making the sequel faced a tall order.
"I don't think a sequel besmirches the original. I think the hard part is you're up against the original," Requa told 24 Frames, adding, "It'll be hard, but I don't think it's impossible."
Ficarra and Requa spoke early on with producers of the new film about guiding whoever would write the sequel but the two sides couldn't agree on whom to hire. So they parted ways. Instead, producers and studio Dimension Films went on to conduct an elaborate search and ended up hiring two writers, Johnny Rosenthal and John Phillips, to write two separate scripts. Producers will eventually pick one as the basis of the new film.
The "Bad Santa" writers did say that they are generally skeptical of sequels. "It's a thankless job, because you're up against big expectations," Ficarra said. "You can't go in a totally new direction, but if you do an hommage, people think you're ripping off the original."
The original "Bad Santa" ended with Thornton's Willie Stokes essentially getting away with his cons and being hired to work as a sensitivity trainer for the police department. He could, theoretically, go back to knocking over department stores with his miniature sidekick in a new movie.
"But wouldn't it be odd if he was a Santa again?" Ficarra asked, before stopping himself. Requa then jumped in with a fanciful, if ironic, suggestion. "Will Stokes is a great character," he said. "You could do a western. Or maybe 'Bad Santa in Outer Space.' "
Photo: "Bad Santa." Credit: Dimension Films