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12 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Bad Santa

Ultimate Bad Santa facts - the best alternative Christmas movie, ever...

12 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Bad Santa
24 December 2023

If you're starting to feel your teeth get a little loose from all of the sugar that's parading around for this damn Christmas thing that keeps happening every damn year, the gloriously profane and bitter 2003 comedy Bad Santa will prove the perfect tonic.

But before you plan that much-needed rewatch, check out these 12 things you might not know about the film. Oh and Merry Christmas or whatever...

12 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Bad Santa


Both Jack Nicholson and Bill Murray were interested in the role but other films got in the way. Nicholson had Something's Gotta Give while Murray had Lost In Translation. Ironically, Murray's performance ended up beating Billy Bob Thornton at the Golden Globes that yeer.


The Coens, who exec produced the film and brought it to Terry Zwigoff to direct, disagreed with him over the casting of Tony Cox as the sidekick. "They said that they couldn't see the guy being black," Zwigoff explained. "I said I don't see the guy being black, I think the fact of him being three-foot-six is the overriding characteristic of the guy. I don't think it matters. I just think this guy is really funny in the part. And they thought that would ruin the film."


There was a sequel in 2016, with the most of the main characters returning. Except Sue, as Lauren Graham had Gilmore Girls duties or director Ed Zwick. Instead Mean Girls' Mark Waters was at the helm. It didn't get anywhere near the success of the first one, though,


In a deleted scene. Sarah Silverman teaches a class full of Santas how to be better at their jobs. You can watch the whole thing here.

12 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Bad Santa


Brett Kelly, who played the memorably named Thurman Merman, is currently attending university but also attempting a movie career, with intermittent success. His most recent role was in High School, a stoner comedy with Adrien Brody.


While the film gained a cult following, it wasn't without some naysayers who believed that it ruined the spirit of Christmas. "We did get a few comments," Thornton admitted, "and my reply was always, 'As far as I know, Santa Claus is not in the Bible. I think you guys are talking about Jesus.'"


It's one of the sweariest movies ever with more than 150 uses of the F-word. The unrated version adds another 20 on top for good measure.

12 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Bad Santa


The original opening had no narration but a more descriptive version was brought in after preview screenings. It was removed from the director's cut. "The narration was put in at that point because at every test screening the people didn't know if they were supposed to laugh or not," director Terry Zwigoff explained. "People need permission to laugh. With the narration, test audiences started laughing earlier, but that doesn't necessarily make it a better film. Now, they're not laughing as early perhaps, but hopefully, the film plays out better."


Other scenes that were removed from the director's cut include the advent calendar scene and the sequence when Thurman is taught how to beat up bullies. Zwigoff wanted to remove some of the sentimentality and Hollywoodism that was forced on the film.


The casting of Brett Kelly was a deliberate choice to steer clear of a traditional movie kid but the producers weren't happy and after pushing for a more "cute" actor, Zwigoff threatened to walk off set. In the end. it was Billy Bob Thornton who saved the day, having read with Kelly and stating that he was the best choice for the role.


In the Czech Republic, the title translated as 'Santa is a Pervert', which is also kind of true, if a little blunt.


Marcus's awful wife Lois is played by Lauren Tom, who also voices the character of Amy Wong in Futurama.