Generally, Christmas movies tend to cater to the family friendly genre, which is probably why myself and so many others love Bad Santa. It’s the anti-family friendly Christmas movie, trading heartwarming for vulgarity as Billy Bob Thornton plays a perpetually drunk Santa Clause who enjoys anal sex with women in department store dressing rooms. Billy Bob’s foul-mouthed mall Santa and his equally crude elf cleaned up at the box office in 2003 with the movie pulling in $76 million and becoming an instant holiday classic.
In honor of Billy Bob’s not so cheery Santa and the movie’s recent addition to Netflix streaming, here are ten things you might not know about the cult favorite.
1. Billy Bob Thornton got sloshed during filming. BBT is a method actor, especially when that means getting drunk on holiday hooch to get into character. Billy Bob told Film4 that while filming the movie he got drunk to better play the part.
“I’ve traditionally played really extreme characters and even in a comedy, if you’re going to play a guy like this, you can’t be sort of drunk, you know? And I wasn’t sort of drunk. You have to go completely into it.”
2. The Santa role was first offered to Jack Nicholson. Before Billy Bob put on the Santa suit, the part was offered up to both Jack Nicholson and Bill Murray. Jack was busy at the time with the romantic comedy Somethings Gotta Give and Bill Murray was in Japan filming Lost in Translation.
3. The movie marked John Ritter’s final film role. Veteran actor John Ritter first worked with Billy Bob Thornton in the 1996 indie drama Sling Blade, and teamed up again with Billy Bob for his final movie acting role as mall manager Bob Chipeska.
4. Bad Santa’s bad language helped earn its R-rating. If you’re going to make a movie called Bad Santa then it had better live up to the name. And with 159 variations of “f*ck” said during the movie and “sh*t” being tossed around 73 times, it’s undoubtedly one of the most vulgar Christmas movies ever.
5. The director prefers the uncut, dirtier version. Director Terry Zwigoff told Indiewire that the unrated version of Bad Santa (Badder Santa) is exactly how he intended the film to be shot, but was forced to clean it up for the studio.
“The studio wanted to mess with it and make it more mainstream and pour some fake sentiment on it for the people that stumble around the mall. Go to Target some day and look at who your target audience is. Look at the people who are out there going to films and you realize you are totally f*cked, you don’t want to do anything these people like. But that director’s cut is exactly the script I got. I wanted to protect the script.”