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The 1946 James Stewart Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life is getting the sequel treatment.
Florida-based Star Partners, a film financing entity that has worked on movies since the 1980s (Rain Man and The Color Purple were among the movies co-financed), and Nashville-based Hummingbird Prods., a company that is one of the biggest producers of music for commercials, have teamed up to develop It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
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Not only that, the producers — Star Partners’ Allen J. Schwalb and Hummingbird’s Bob Farnsworth — have even rounded up original cast member Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter Zuzu, to return.
The idea is the brainchild of Farnsworth, who after watching and crying for the up-hundredth time, began brainstorming questions: Whatever happened to George Bailey? What happened to Zuzu?
He checked on the rights, which were in the public domain, and wrote a screenplay with Martha Bolton, who worked with Bob Hope as a staff writer on the comedian’s specials. The sequel tries marry two Christmas classics – Wonderful Life and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
“It’s a Wonderful Life is about showing a good guy can win. And with Scrooge, you have a person that is not a good guy but he changes,” Farnsworth tells THR. “This story is about the amazing human capacity to forgive when we see someone change for the better.”
As such, the story centers on Bailey’s not-so-good grandson who is visited by his aunt Zuzu, now an angel, to show him how much better off the world would be had be never been born.
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Farnsworth is expecting some backlash, since messing with a classic is sure to generate controversy in some quarters.
“Look, no one can make another It’s a Wonderful Life. But our story is solid, and we are going in with our eyes open. There is no doubt about it, there will be a ruckus. But I have this motto: All it takes to be a leader is to have a cause you believe in. And the stronger you believe in the cause, the more adversaries you will have. And we strongly believe in this.”
The producers are eyeing a budget in the $25 to $32 million range and are in the midst of searching for a director. The idea is to have the film ready for the 2015 holiday season.
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