Kathy Bates Joins Billy Bob Thornton in 'Bad Santa 2' (Exclusive)

Kathy Bates - H 2015
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Ho, ho, ho, everybody's favorite drunk Santa is back.

Kathy Bates has closed a deal to join Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa 2, the sequel to the 2003 dark comedy.

Mark Waters (Mean Girls) is directing the movie, which reunites him with his Freaky Friday producer Andrew Gunn. Geyer Kosinski is also producing.

Broad Green and Miramax are co-financing and co-producing the comedy.

Plot details for the new movie are being kept wrapped under the tree, but Bates will play Sunny Soke, the foulmouthed, tough-as-nails mother to Thornton's mall Santa, Willie Soke.

Also in the movie are Tony Cox and Brett Kelly. Kelly played the kid character in the first movie and reprises the same role, this time as an adult.

Santa 2 will shoot in Montreal beginning in January.

Johnny Rosenthal, Doug Ellin (Entourage) and Shauna Cross (If I Stay) wrote the script. Miramax's Zanne Devine and David Thwaites, Broad Green's Gabriel and Daniel Hammond, Waters, Ellin and Jessica Tuchinsky are exec producing.

Bates, repped by ICM Partners, has recently been a key player on American Horror Story, appearing in three seasons of the anthology show (Coven, Freak Show and Hotel). Her work has garnered two Emmy nominations and one win for outstanding actress in a limited series.    

She is currently in pre-production on Xavier Dolan’s drama The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.