Not only is Kathy Bates joining the Bad Santa 2 roster as Sunny – Willie’s crooked, abusive mother – but she is also a long time fan of this crude Christmas classic. Bates admits, “I’ve always loved this movie and by some strange stroke of fate I had seen it six months before, it was on and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to watch this again!’ And then low and behold I got invited to do this part and I said, “YES! YES! I want to do this, how great would that be?!”
Screen Rant sat down with Kathy Bates at the film’s L.A. press day to discuss her dramatic makeover, working with Billy Bob Thornton, and keeping a straight face while filming.
I have to ask because you guys are all so hilarious as actors and characters in the film, was it hard keeping a straight face in some of those raunchy, funny scenes?
Bates: Yeah, sometimes, yeah I mean the one who used to crack me up the most was Tony.
Bates: Oh yeah! It’s a natural gift. When he would, God I don’t know, he just, in every scene even when we were standing outside freezing our rear ends off trying to get the money in the baskets and stuff, I just look at him and he just has a way of looking, anyway.
He does have that eye roll! I know what you’re talking about. Where he just looks up.
Bates: I know he’s like, ‘Really?’
Were you surprised when you found out that you would have to get your haircut, fake tattoos and be butch? Or were you excited?
Bates: NO! No in fact, I went to my hair guy and I said ‘I need a Mohawk.’ And he said, “Mohawk?!” He’s British-“Mohawk?!” And I said ‘yeah, yeah! It’s for this character!’ [He said] “A real Mohawk?!” And I said ‘uh huh! You gotta shave all this off,’ and he says, “Alright.” And he kept trying, do you we want it a little softer?! And I said “No, no it’s a Mohawk man, you gotta make it this way!”
Make it edgy.
Bates: Yeah! And then I had this great guy on American Horror Story who is this FX make up artist-because I had to go right from one to the next-so he worked between the make up artist there and created all these great tats that she put on. They looked really old and the costume was vintage, you know, leather stuff, with silver. Our costume designer did Romeo and Juliet for Baz Luhrmann so he had all this amazing vintage stuff that I can wear, the chains, you know everything. That first costume fitting was like, ‘YES THERE SHE IS!’
That’s good that you embrace it and you’re not afraid, you know, that’s your shtick.
Bates: No! No I hated wearing the old lady stuff.
I don’t blame you there, that’s not the fun stuff. Were you excited to be apart if such a, not even a cult classic, a classic Christmas film-to be honest. So were you excited?
Bates: Totally, totally. I’ve always loved this movie and by some strange stroke of fate I had seen it six months before, it was on and I thought, ‘oh I’m going to watch this again!’ And then low and behold I got invited to do this part and I said “YES YES! I want to do this, how great would that be?!” And then when I told people I’m going to do this they were like, “Oh my God that’s so great!” I hope that, you know the chemistry between Tony and Billy is so awesome I just didn’t want to interfere with that, I wanted to slide in and be the perfect part of it.
Absolutely, and have you not seen Billy Bob since you did Primary Colors together?
Bates: No. No that’s not true we ran into each other at the Golden Globes when I saw him at the party afterwards when he got a Golden Globe for Fargo.
Oh wow, okay so it was a nice little reunion.
Bates: I was jumping up and down for him; I mean he’s just awesome. So honest, in his life, on screen, I really admire that.
Well you both are and congratulations on your star by the way.
Bates: Thank you!
That’s a huge deal.
Bates: Thank you, it is, I was very honored.