Bad Santa: Billy Bob Thornton reveals he was drunk while filming iconic mall scene

Actor says he tried his hand at Method acting for the scene

Clémence Michallon
New York
Monday 21 October 2019 22:32 BST
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Billy Bob Thornton has revealed he was drunk while filming an iconic scene in Bad Santa.

The moment in question takes place when Thornton’s character, Willie T Soke, shows up drunk to his job at the Saguaro Square Mall.

Asked about the moment in a recent interview on Entertainment Weekly‘s Couch Surfing series, Thornton said he has a “Method actor aspect to [himself]” before describing how he prepared to film this specific sequence.

“I was drunk in that scene,” he said. “And it’s so obvious.”

He continued: “I drank about three glasses of red wine for breakfast. That was just an appetiser. Then I switched over to vodka and cranberry juice and then I had a few Bud Lights.”

“By the time I got to that scene there, I barely knew I was in a movie,” Thornton added.

The actor said he was supposed to be fully standing up at the beginning of the scene, but his character is shown instead slumped against an escalator.

‘It dumps me out up there on the floor at the top of the escalator and it literally woke me up,” he said.

“It woke me up and that’s what’s in the movie. And I get up ... And I was like – because I thought I woke up at my house.

“And then I remembered what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to go there and fall down on all those gifts and be horrible in front of the kids.

“At least it wasn’t a monologue.”

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It’s been almost 16 years since Bad Santa premiered in November 2003.

Thornton reprised his role as Soke in a sequel, Bad Santa 2, in 2016.

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