The challenge with rebooting a beloved classic is finding the perfect balance between hitting nostalgic notes and bringing fresh ideas to your audience.
Peter Billingsley, who is most famous for his role in “A Christmas Story” but has also had a long career as a Hollywood producer and director, knows this all too well.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Billingsley, 51, opened up about the anticipated sequel to the holiday classic and shared some of the “bad ideas” that were pitched to him before he and his team landed on what would eventually become the HBO Max movie “A Christmas Story Christmas.”
“it’s been officially in the works for about four years. But over the years it would enter my head, and then nothing necessarily stuck,” shared Billingsley. He clarified that he is not sure if “the timing was right, or the entry point was right. There’s been some bad ideas that I’ve been pitched.”
Billingsley, who is no stranger to holiday films (he also produced the 2008 movie “Four Christmases”), said he dealt with “people just wanting to monetize it. Any time something’s successful, you know Hollywood: ‘Do it again, do it again, do it again.’”
Though Billingsley says he was encouraged to recreate a similar story arc for his character Ralphie as in the original movie, who as a child wanted the perfect gift for Christmas, there was “no thought being put into” a plot where “Ralphie wants something new... and he’ll go crazy trying to get it.”
Billingsley said that because “as a parent you want Christmas to be perfect for your kids,” it was important for the filmmakers to “have the nostalgia” without overstaying in it.
The classic story is “almost sacred now,” said Billingsley. “So you really want to have the confidence at the starting point to get it right… Have your Easter eggs, but don’t dip in for too long.”