By Will Ashton
Update: Paramount, the studio that owns the distribution and sequel rights to the original film, issued a statement in Variety saying “No project relating to It’s A Wonderful Life can proceed without a license from Paramount. To date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights.” So, unless Paramount and these producers buddy up, don’t expect a sequel.
I should expect every movie to be subject to sequel, but you can color me surprise anyway, because It’s a Wonderful Life is getting one aiming for a holiday 2015 release.
Variety broke the news on the film, tentatively titled It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story and written by Bob Farnsworth and Martha Bolton. The film will be following the angel of George Bailey’s daughter Zuzu, which will have Karolyn Grimes reprising her role, as she teaches Bailey’s evil grandson, also named George Bailey, how different the world would be had he not been born.
“The storyline of the new film retains the spirit of the original – every life is important as long as you have friends,” Farnsworth said to Variety.
Allen J. Schwalb, of Star Partners, is financing the film with Farnsworth also producing. They are currently looking for directors and are hoping to shoot the film early next year in Louisiana for a holiday 2015 release. The production is said to have a budget between $20-35 million.
No casting for Bailey’s grandson has been set, and won’t be until February, but the producers are looking to have Jimmy Hawkins and Carol Coombs reprise their roles in the film as well.
“The new film will retain the feeling of the original, and it simply must be shared,” Grimes said. “I’ve probably read close to 20 scripts over the years suggesting a sequel to It’s a Wonderful Life, but none of them were any good. The script by Bob Farnsworth and Martha Bolton was wonderful, and I wanted to be involved with his version of the film immediately.”
As far as sequels go, this one is pretty unnecessary. I mean, what needs to be said that hasn’t been covered in the first film? Nevertheless, it looks like this thing is going to happen. I just hope that it ends up being as good as it could possibly be.