‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Sequel in the Works (EXCLUSIVE)

Its a Wonderful Life Sequel

Story to focus on George Bailey's grandson; actress who portrayed 'Zuzu' in the original returning to play angel

Star Partners and Hummingbird Prods. are collaborating on production of a sequel to Frank Capra’s iconic 1946 movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which starred Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.

The sequel, titled “It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story,” is being financed by Allen J. Schwalb of Star Partners who will also produce along with Bob Farnsworth of Hummingbird. The duo are aiming to get the movie into theaters for the 2015 holiday season.

Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter “Zuzu” in the original, will return for the “Wonderful Life” sequel as an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) how the world would be if he had he never been born.

Grimes, of course, bellowed the iconic line “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!” in the original movie, about a troubled family man (Stewart) whose near-suicide on Christmas Eve brings on the intervention of his guardian angel.

Farnsworth and Martha Bolton have written the screenplay.

“The storyline of the new film retains the spirit of the original – every life is important as long as you have friends,” Farnsworth said.

No casting decision for the lead role of Bailey’s grandson will be made until February but producers have also begun discussions with original cast members Jimmy Hawkins, who portrayed Tommy Bailey, and Carol Coombs,who played Janie Bailey, to reprise their roles as well.

The producers are interviewing potential directors and plan to shoot the majority of the film in Louisiana. The sequel will have a budget in the $25 million to $35 million range.

“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.”

Star Partners is the managing member of the slate portfolio Star Partners 8 LLC, a $100 million offering. Previously, Star Partners funded seven slates of films, dating back to the 1980s, including “The Right Stuff,” “The Killing Fields,” “The Color Purple,” “The Mission,” “Moonstruck” and “Rain Man.”

“It’s a Wonderful Life” was nominated for five Oscars including best picture but lost out to “The Best Years of Our Lives.”

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  1. Terry Hoffman says:

    I would love to see a remake of the original, following mostly the original script. I could see Eric McCormack at George Bailey. Updating the story to today and modernizing it would just kill the original concept.

    • Lennie says:

      This one actually exists, only it has reversed characters. Here Mary is the main character who wants to jump of the bridge and is saved by her guardian angel Clara. It is called “It Happened One Christmas”, is from 1977 and features Orson Welles as Mr. Potter. It is an interesting movie and the main actress does a good job. But it still doesn’t beat the original classic. And I think the sequel will never be produced too, as a trailer was removed from YouTube and the reference on the project was also removed from the website. The company also didn’t reply on questions regarding it. I think if this movie would actually come out, people would see it anyway, just to laugh about it and to criticize how bad it is. I don’t know the results of course but why do we need a sequel that tells almost the same story as the original?

  2. William Killyou says:

    I believe this film WILL BE HORRIBLE!! It will be full of modernistic social ideal, will place minorities and women in differing rolls and will include common pop-cultrue vernacular to appeal to media-drones.

  3. Beckey Holmes says:

    This is a iconic movie,please don’t mess it up.I would love to give my input, I’ve been watching this movie since 75 I’ve seen it over a 100 times

  4. James McDonald says:

    It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) was filmed at the RKO Ranch in Encino, California. This is where they used, for the first time, snow machines to create the snow on the Bedford Falls set which was the longest and widest set ever made at the time.

  5. mark says:

    where was the first its a wonderful life filmed?

  6. Kathryn O'Gould says:

    Excellent article

  7. Marie says:

    “The storyline of the new film retains the spirit of the original – every life is important as long as you have friends”
    First, that’s not *at all* the point of the original. Secondly, even if it was, it would be a lousy idea.

    Defining a life’s importance by the choices of *others* (whether they choose to be friends with the person, for example) is not a good road to go down! That’s a recipe for all the worst kinds of evil. Just follow the logic.

    Example:

    Suppose we have a kid, “Kid A,” who has no friends. This teenager is not “cool” enough or the right race or class or orientation or doesn’t wear the right brand of clothes or whatever other reason school kids use to decide to ostracize someone.

    By the logic above (call it the “Farnsworth Principle”), Kid A’s life is not important, because “every life is important as long as you have friends” and Kid A has no friends.

    So, then if the bullies aren’t satisfied with ostracizing Kid A and they proceed to pick on this individual and it either escalates to a brutal back alley scene resulting in Kid A’s death, or to a suicide note from Kid A, well that’s all okay and no one should claim there’s any wrong or injustice: according to Farnsworth Principle, Kid A’s life wasn’t important.

    Do you see the problem here?!

    We can’t define the importance of people’s lives by whether others choose to be friends with them. A person’s life is important because they are a unique human being, not because others have decided they are “worthy.”

  8. I still think it’s a great idea. Maybe John Lithgow as George Bailey’s grandson. Nobody here has read the screenplay and everyone has an opinion. If it is written well and cast well it should be an instant classic.

  9. Suzanna says:

    Noticed you edited the logline to a softer version: “how the world would be if he had he never been born.” Not getting the response the producers hoped for, eh?

  10. tannim says:

    The world will be better off if this sequel is not made…

  11. Kendra says:

    Why can’t it just be a different movie entirely with no connection to “It’s a Wonderful Life”? This is a movie that is a classic for its singularity and simplicity. A sequel will sabotage that.

  12. Patti O. says:

    First Sound of Music, now It’s a Wonderful Life. Please leave the classics alone.

  13. Susie says:

    Matt Damon to play George Bailey’s Grandson!! That’s my vote!

  14. Steve Zambo says:

    The sequel to a classic can be done in distribution this year is “Mister Scrooge to See Tou” which covers the adventures of Scrooge one year after the original. It is produced by Salty Earth Pictures and is being distributed by Gateway Films/Vision Video. The film stars David Ruprecht in an excellent performance as ebenezer Scrooge. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3087882/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

  15. Joyce says:

    Don’t try to revisit a classic! It’ll never be good enough!

  16. Beth says:

    I like the idea. It is my favorite movie of any season and I think it would be fun to revisit the story.

  17. G. Jardoness says:

    Don’t worry America, ‘the classics do survive’ what the foolish try to do to them…

    So, stay tuned for; The Bailey’s marital dysfunction and fidelity problems, Tommy Bailey’s addictions, a tattooed Janie’s turn on the old stripper pole, some sanctimonious bloviating on social and economic justice, and perhaps a paranormal twist with a bad angel trying to convince him to kill ’em all then jump?

    Happy Holidays Hollywood!

  18. CColon says:

    “It’s a Wonderful Life” is my all-time favorite Christmas movie!! This is a true classic and a sequel would only ruin the effect the entire movie has on people. It is complete as it is and there is no need to fantasize about what happened after that Christmas. Please do not create some half-baked movie that will only be a disappointment. It is NOT necessary!!!

  19. Bob says:

    “Every life is important as long as you have friends?”
    A moronic philosophy that could only come out of modern day Hollywood.
    How about every life is important, period.

    • Mel says:

      If that’s the philosophy you got out of the original movies, than you are the moron !!!!!!

    • Bob… total misquote… it’s “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends, Thanks for the wings.” That makes a huge difference man… before you bitch about a quote… QUOTE IT RIGHT…

      • john says:

        @BradmanTV ( Bradman? Really?)

        Do you just jump straight to the comments?

        He wasn’t quoting the movie, he was quoting the article which quoted one of the screenplay writers who said just that, “…….every life is important as long as you have friends..”

        So, before you bitch about the quoting, read the source of the quote.

        But for someone who refers to themselves as Bradman, a bone head response such as yours seems about right. Bradman….bwahahah

  20. Bob says:

    Nooooo!!!!!

  21. Suzanna says:

    With a morality tale like that, every bullied kid should just off themselves (and loner, and orphan, and elderly person, etc.). “Spirit of the original” my a$$. How embarrassing for these writers and producers. I hope this is a terrible, terrible prank.

  22. Jon Asher says:

    One of Hollywood’s problems is its on-going inability to produce new material, a problem exacerbated by tight-fisted money manager who are petrified that anything new might not make money. Wasn’t the remake of “Stagecoach” embarrassment enough for the industry? Obviously not. Right now there’s some idiot sitting in a studio office somewhere envisioning a remake of “It Happened One Night” — and for all we know someone’s going to green-light it. None of us expects teenagers or 20-Somethings to completely relate to cherished, older films, an that’s somewhat understandable. But, iconic films like most of Capra’s work (along with so many others of the era) deserve better than re-visits. For all I know this film might pack theaters and win awards, but thats extremely unlikely. Better these guys find something original to push, because the odds of financial and artistic success, to say nothing of acceptance from from the nation’s film critics, are pretty slim. At first blush it sounds like a film many of us will wait to see on television — and then flip the dial 20 minutes in.

  23. Sounds like a movie of, by, and for bullies. Am I the only one who, hearing “shows him how much better off the world would have been had he never been born,” thought of the kids who get this message every day from their fellow students at school and act on it?

    • Doug Weingartz says:

      Jerome, calm down. Do people read the articles before they post? First, I hope a remake is never made, a travesty! However, the plot isn’t to show “how the world would be a better place if he hadn’t been born”. Rather, what the world would be like had he not been born. Much different, my friend.

  24. Nathan says:

    I wonder if he realizes the world would be better off if he hadn’t been born and changes his ways, ala Scrooge, or if he realizes the world would be better off if he hadn’t been born and figures screw it and wishes he was never born. The latter seems too depressing. The former is a lame rip-off of Dickens. Either way its a bad idea.

  25. With all due respect, I think you folks ought to just leave it be. I believe adding a “sequel” to it will only take much away from the original story. It began well, and it ended well!!! Congraulations Mr. Frank Capra.

  26. John says:

    WHY??????

  27. DPB says:

    Sometime no sequel is wanted nor needed.

  28. George Matusek says:

    Although I consider “It’s a Wonderful Life” a classic piece of Americana, I appreciate that some people think it’s too sentimental — for a hilarious unsentimental film, I recommend “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” (1942) written and directed by the legendary Preston Sturges — it contains a parody of the Nativity in which a young woman (who may or may not be married) gives birth to sextuplets at Christmastime — the studio held up its release for a year, fearing that it would be denounced from the pulpits, but it was not mean-spirited and its generosity of spirit was widely accepted and there was no moralistic uproar.

  29. Mark says:

    With the entire cast deceased it should be called, “It’s A Wonderful Afterlife!”

  30. Clay Bell says:

    It is a shame Hollywood can’t come up with original ideas anymore. Let’s just hope they keep it clean. We all know how vulgar films are these days.

  31. Red says:

    This is a travesty.

    When will the hacks of Hollywood stop raping cherished material and concentrate on making something new and worthwhile.

    • SG says:

      There’s no point in milking this story!
      Why can’t classics remain strong stand alone films? I’ve got a friend that can write a hundred original stories that are much better than this. Today, it’s not about talent or authenticity. It’s just a matter of who’s got the money.
      Big disappointment.

  32. Taffy Lynn says:

    As for the foolhardy souls screeching to give this turkey a chance … look, fellows, you don’t have to eat a whole egg to know that it’s rotten … there are already enough indicators to suggest that this sequel is going to be a complete Nightmare on Capra Street. If the main character is indeed a soulless monster who needs redeeming you can brace yourself for yet another smug cinematic lecture on the evils of racism, sexism and homophobia. I mean, really …isn’t that inevitable given the stated plot. And I’m sure it will be filled with a lot of those tacky and unconvincing CGI effects to represent miraculous happenings … even though the original managed to brilliantly convey other-worldly events without any of that headache inducing screen candy. They’ve already missed the boat by not allowing Karolyn Grimes to reprise her role as an aging Zuzu …that would provide an essential and solid link to the two stories and create immediate interest for all those who have seen the original … the only merciful aspect is that it will probably quietly come and go in an instant like so many attempts by modern Hollywood to wear the pants of past giants.

  33. nick Mascia says:

    WOW! look at the haters lining up like literary lemmings with lurid details of what the film sequel will be. Hello?
    Go see the freaking film THEN become the sidewalk movie critics you aren’t .
    Gather Ye up phony soothsayers and predict the next World War 3, a reaccurance of the Black Plague and the downfall of the Yankees regime.
    YOU HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN THE MOVIE YET!
    Well, neither have I but at least I’m curious enough to see before I judge.

  34. Diane says:

    You people have not done your homework it’s already been remade it starred a female version of George Bailey played by Marlo Thomas it was the worst thing I have ever seen

  35. Bob M. says:

    What a great idea! A sequel to a Christmas classic! Afterall, A CHRISTMAS STORY 2 was such a smashing success, why not go after some of the other classics? How about WHITE CHRISTMAS 2 starring David Crosby trying to save the All You Can Eat Buffet owned by his disenchanted Vietnam War platoon commander? I’ll think of more later, if Hollywood doesn’t beat me to it.

  36. Diane says:

    Karolyn Grimes as Zuzu “bellowed” the angel wings line?? lol

  37. Nick Cage as the grandson? :D

  38. Jeremy Snyder says:

    Grimes bellowed the iconic line? Bellowed as in “emitted a deep roaring sound”? I don’t quite remember it that way.

  39. I, for one, am looking forward to this story. The original is right up there as one of my, if not my, favorite movies of all time. I think it’s clever to turn the whole original on it’s ear and turn a saint into a sinner. Does Ebenezer Scrooge ring any bells? Yes we’ve seen it all before …. from “A Christmas Carol” to “Groundhog Day” …… but Alastair Sim and Bill Murray delivered. Don’t knock it til’ you’ve tried it. We may all be pleasantly surprised.

  40. I, for one, am looking forward to this story. The original is right up there as one of my, if not my, favorite movies of all time. I think it’s clever to turn the whole original on it’s ear and turn a saint into a sinner. Does Ebenezer Scrooge ring any bells? Yes we’ve seen it all before …. from “A Christmas Carol” to “Groundhog Day” …… but Alastair Sim and Bill Murray delivered. Don’t knock it til’ you’ve tried it. We may all be pleasantly surprised.

  41. Brian says:

    Please stop ruining my childhood, Hollywood. Get original, or get lost.

  42. Bill C. says:

    What a terrible idea … doomed to ignominious, abject failure.

  43. Thomas says:

    It’s A Wonderful Life 2 – Electric Boogaloo

  44. Dennis Cox says:

    Please do not do this. This movie is a classic piece of Americana. If the premise of the new movie is to show how much better the world would have been if Bailey’s grandson had never been born, what would be the point of the movie? Where is the redemption factor? What lesson would the grandson learn in order to make him understand his role in the societal community?
    Please do not make this movie. If you really must mess with It’s a Wonderful Life, then just remake it in a modern world but stay true to the original story.

    • Diane says:

      I tend to agree with you, regarding the redemption question, Dennis. To me, this sequel conveys the message that the lessons George Bailey learned from his profound, spiritual experience weren’t passed down through him to his children and his children’s children, and I can’t imagine the character of George failing to do that. Of course, he could have had a rogue grandson. Still, there doesn’t appear to be a point to this sequel, which is less a sequel in my opinion, than a thin remake of the original. A classic never needs a remake.

  45. Pat Duke says:

    I am familiar with one of the creators of this sequel. So, I fully expect evangelical Christian conversions to be worked into the movie in a big way. I’ll take a pass on the preachy fundamentalism.

  46. ibjbyron says:

    Amidst the chorus of “nnoooo”‘s, I’ll just say that only good comes of this. Either it sucks rocks, and dies a merciful (deserved) death; or it’s awesome, and why wouldn’t we want an awesome new film in the spirit of the original? Bad idea, sure; unoriginal and unnecessary, absolutely. But, I say let them try…

  47. G'ma B says:

    That sounds terrible. Don’t. Do it. It is unique. Why mess w/ a good thing?
    No no no no

  48. Well, it’s a good reason to go on… :)

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