After finding out that the Coen Brothers, executive producers on Bad Santa, completely abandoned the movie after the Weinsteins tried to force a “piece of sh*t” edit onto them, I got curious about the kid in the movie. Brett Kelly, who played Thurman Merman in the film, is a big part of why that film succeeded. He played a gullible overweight kid who believed that Billy Bob Thornton’s Santa character was real, and he uses the kid’s naivety to trick him into letting him stay in his house. The bullying and taunting that Thurman receives, of course, ultimately gives Thornton’s Santa a renewed sense of purpose.
After Bad Santa, Kelly went on to minor stardom as a kid actor in the aughts — he was subsequently cast in Trick ‘r Treat, Sandlot 2, and Paul Feig’s Unaccompanied Minors. Though he hasn’t acted onscreen since 2010, he is expected to return for Bad Santa 2.
So, what’s happened to him in the last 12 years?
He grew up.