Best Actor Oscar nominee and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton (Our Brand is Crisis) will reprise his lead role of Santa impersonator Willie Soke. Tony Cox (White T) and Brett Kelly (High School) from the original film are also returning. Bates, in a new character, will play Soke’s mother. The original 2003 film grossed $60 million domestically on a $15 million budget.
Mark Waters (Mean Girls) will helm the sequel from a screenplay by Johnny Rosenthal (his debut feature), Doug Ellin (Entourage) and Shauna Cross (If I Stay). Geyer Kosinski (Bad News Bears) and Andrew Gunn (Race to Witch Mountain) will produce.
Waters and Ellin will also executive produce along with Miramax’s Zanne Devine and David Thwaites, as well as Broad Green’s Gabriel and Daniel Hammond and Jessica Tuchinsky.
Bates has been active in television work of late and has garnered 2 Emmy wins and 10 Emmy nominations. She can currently be seen in her recurring roles on FX’s American Horror Story. She led the cast of creator David E. Kelly’s Harry’s Law, which aired on NBC from 2011-2012. Her breakout feature film role, which also yielded an Oscar win, was her obsessive, violent and delusional “No. 1 fan” of James Caan’s writer character in Rob Reiner’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel, Misery. She and Caan did an Entertainment Weekly piece in last month’s reunions issue for the 25th anniversary of Misery.
Principal photography on Bad Santa 2 will commence in January in Montreal. While the exact release date has not yet been announced, the film is expected to bow during the holiday season next year.