One thing that caused the 13-year gap between the original “Bad Santa” and its sequel was the script. The original idea for “Bad Santa 2” was to have the heavy drinking, foul-mouthed, sex crazy Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) work on his next robbery with his deadbeat dad.
The problem was when they started coming up with ideas, Willie’s father was too much like Willie so it didn’t work.
Finally, someone suggested that Willie work with his mother instead. Thornton says that as soon as the suggestion was made, it was universally thought that only Oscar-winner Kathy Bates could play the role of Willie’s mom, who plans to rob a charity.
Bates jumped at the idea of being part of the raunchy holiday comedy. Not only was it a chance to do more than the one scene she had with Thornton in “Primary Colors,” as well as do some big comedy, but Bates got to live out a long-time fantasy through the back-stabbing, two-timing character of Sunny Soke.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Fresno Bee
She had such a passion to play a “biker chick” role that Bates was involved in every aspect of creating the look for Sunny.
“I wanted her to have tats. I wanted her to have a mohawk,” Bates says. “I wanted there to be such a difference between her real look and the disguise she wears to work at the orphanage.
“I had so much fun.”
I wanted her to have tats. I wanted her to have a Mohawk. I wanted there to be such a difference between her real look and the disguise she wears to work at the orphanage. I had so much fun.
Actress Kathy Bates on her character in ‘Bad Santa 2’
Bates was working on “American Horror Story” when she was cast in the movie. She worked with the “Horror” makeup team to design all of the tattoos for Sunny. Bates knew the ink would have to look like it had been there for years, so she went with basic designs like a scorpion and a snake.
Bates enjoyed having the temporary tattoos because until she retires, Bates doesn’t plan on getting any ink. The body art just complicates work for movie wardrobe and makeup departments.
The one thing Bates doesn’t want to do is mess up a career that she’s loved since growing up in Memphis. Bates is convinced that growing up in the South has helped her career.
“Southerners have never met a stranger,” Bates says.
Doing a movie like “Bad Santa 2” reminds Bates that acting is just playing pretend.
“But, when you do this, you get to work with the best people who can help you take playing pretend to the nth degree,” Bates says.
And Bates has never cared where she wants to play pretend, having worked in film, TV and theater. That’s because Bates doesn’t select a job based on the medium but always based on the character.
She describes her approach to acting like being an animal in the wild that is attracted to an oasis.
“We all want to play with great other people. And when you do that, you just be truthful to the role,” Bates says. “Marlon Brando is famous for having said that when they yell action, don’t do anything.”
In recent years, Bates has taken on a wide range of roles, from playing the ghost of Charlie Harper on “Two and a Half Men” (for which she won an Emmy) to being part of the “American Horror Story” series.
In recent years, Bates has taken on a wide range of roles, from playing the ghost of Charlie Harper on “Two and a Half Men” (for which she won an Emmy) to being part of the “American Horror Story” series. She has reunited with “Two and a Half Men” creator Chuck Lorre for the new comedy series, “Disjointed.”
Bates said she had fun making “Bad Santa 2.” Now she’s curious as to how people are going to react to her character, a woman who’s just the opposite of mother of the year.