Every time a box office cash register rings, a movie gets a sequel. So just a short 67 years after its original release, a follow-up to It's A Wonderful Life is in development. Yes, you read that correctly. The film, which will be titled It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story will star Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey's daughter Zuzu and made the iconic proclamation that "every time a bell rings, an angel gets their wings," will reprise her role. However, instead of a precocious child, Zuzu is now an angel herself, tasked with showing George Bailey's grandson — also conveniently named George Bailey — how much better the world would be had he never been born. Despite the bleakness of the plot description, the film's writers Bob Farnsworth and Martha Bolton will "retain the spirit" of the original film, which argues that every person's life is significant and important.
Whether or not you're a fan of the holiday classic, which stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, there's not a lot about sequel that will help to inspire confidence. Putting aside the fact that it has not only held up over the years as a touching Christmastime story about valuing the impact your make on the world, but has also gotten better with time. this is simply not a film that needs a sequel. Like Buddy the Elf, Ralphie Parker and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer himself, George Bailey has become a beloved holiday character, and It's a Wonderful Life is an important part of family traditions across the globe. And frankly, if Will Ferrell knows when to turn down a sequel so should the team behind this film.
Although The Rest of the Story will retain a member of the original cast, Grimes hasn't acted since 1952, which isn't a good sign for a film that will require her to be the emotional center of its story. She does, however, have a strong bond with her most famous character, and she continues to tour around the country and make appearances at screenings of It's A Wonderful Life. But her familiarity with the original film doesn't mean that she will be able to carry its sequel, and, depending on how experienced the new George Bailey is, there is a very good chance that she will need to do so.
Which brings us to our next issue: George Bailey. Any actor taking on a role so famously associated with Stewart is in for a challenge, and his absence will no doubt loom large over the film. There's also no indication of how old the new George is supposed to be, which means that though the film will follow a grown-up who is unhappy with the person he has become, there's still a chance that this could be a film about a misbehaving kid who needs to change his attitude before he grows up to be a horrible person. Although the former will make for a much more compelling story, it would also make it more difficult for the actor playing George to escape being compared to Stewart. Plus, based on the synopsis that has been released, it sounds as if the new George is already a terrible guy, who has caused harm and heartbreak to the people around him, and needs to change his ways — you know, just like in A Christmas Carol. The only thing worse than making a terrible sequel to It's A Wonderful Life would be making a terrible sequel to It's A Wonderful Life that somehow drags another beloved Christmas tale down with it.
The challenge of making the new story work, however, falls to the screenwriters, Farnsworth and Bolton. Unfortunately, the bulk of Bolton's writing credits are for Bob Hope television specials and movies, which also doesn't bode well for the film. Like Grimes, she has a great deal of experience with Christmas stories, but It's A Wonderful Life requires a lot more depth and heart than most television movies do. It's likely that Bolton was responsible for adding some humor to the proceedings, as thing can easily take a dark turn with that particular plot, but there's nothing present on Bolton's resume that would make dedicated fans of the film feel at ease with the idea of a sequel.
And if that weren't enough to doom the project, there have already been several attempts to make a new version of the famous tale, and none of them were particularly successful. In 1977, a television movie told from the perspective of Mary Bailey called It Happened One Christmas aired, starring Cloris Leachman and Orson Welles. The film initially got positive reviews, but it hasn't been broadcast since 1979. There was also a spinoff, Clarence, made in 1990, which followed George Bailey's guardian angel in his attempts to save another soul. It was a made-for-TV movie starring Robert Carradine, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know. The story of It's A Wonderful Life has also been used to inspire the Christmas episodes of television shows from Married... With Children to Raising Hope to Cheers, and has become such a cultural touchstone that a sequel isn't needed to keep its lessons relevant.
It's A Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story is set for a December 2015 release, which gives you plenty of time to try and forget that it's being made and re-watch the original over and over during the holiday season.
With Christmas less than a week away, it's time to get pumped and anticipate all that is to come -- a delicious feast, holiday carols, office parties (free food!), family bonding, and presents galore! There's a reason it's called the most wonderful time of the year and personally I can't wait any longer to get the festivities in motion. So in the spirit of the gift-giving season, the editors of Hollywood.com thought it would be fun to decide what our favorite celebrities should get each other for Christmas. And with their insanely hectic schedules, I'm sure they'll be grateful for our help.
Gwyneth Paltrow Should Give Martha Stewart Her Cook Book
When she’s not acting, Gwyneth Paltrow spends her time writing on her website, GOOP, which gives us strict instructions on what to “make,” “go,” “get,” “do,” “be” and “see.” It guides us and teaches us how we can live more luxurious lifestyles, and Paltrow writes her newsletters under the impression she’s doing the world a big nice favor by helping everyone experience life the way she does. However, at times it seems like she doesn’t realize how few of us actually care which kind of cashmere is the best kind (and how useless a lot of her expertise really is), and so I would have Gwyneth give her new cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter,” to Martha Stewart, so Martha Stewart can take one look at it and give Gwyneth one of her infamous “are you kidding me with this?” glances and Gwyneth can realize she should relax a little bit with all the making, going, getting, doing, being and seeing. – Hannah Lawrence
Anderson Cooper Should Give Donald Trump The Giggles
Anderson Cooper made headlines this year for succumbing to uncontrollable laughter during a segment of his show on CNN. Footage of the incident immediately went viral, and the idea of someone so respected in his field suddenly losing control of himself because of a joke that HE made was completely wonderful. It brought a little bit of joy back into our lives! And so this Christmas, I would have Anderson Cooper give Donald Trump a tape of his laughing breakdown because Trump really needs to relax a bit and stop complaining about everything so much. And I suspect just one dose of Cooper laughing for a good two minutes straight will be enough for Trump to decide to lighten his daily load a bit, and go back to just telling everyone how he graduated from the Wharton School of Business when he didn’t. – Hannah Lawrence
Rob Lowe Should Give Angelina Jolie His Friendship
Not only is Rob Lowe an exceptionally handsome man, but he's also an accomplished writer. Earlier this year, the actor wrote a memoir "Stories I Only Tell My Friends," which describes the highs and lows of his personal and professional lives in a compilation of stories that he -- you guessed -- only tells his friends. It's actually a really interesting read as far as autobiographies go and something I would recommend to anyone who wants to get to know Rob a little bit better. And since Angelina Jolie recently admitted she's sort of lacking in the friends department, I would have Rob give her a copy of his book for Christmas, as a way to make her feel more closely connected to someone other than Brad. I mean, if I understand the title correctly, once you read Rob's stories, you instantly become his friend, right? And since J-Aniston lovers still think she's to blame for the downfall of Jen's marriage to Brad, I'd say she could use all the friends she can get. And what better friend to have than good old Rob! – Kelly Schremph
Charlie Sheen Should Give Justin Bieber A Goddess
Everyone will remember 2011 as the year of Charlie Sheen's epic meltdown. Sure, there's the royal wedding and that whole Kim Kardashian joke of a marriage, but nothing compares to Sheen's career-destructing tirade. So for this Christmas, I would have Mr. Sheen give Justin Bieber the one thing he once held in such high regard: a goddess. A few months ago, Bieber experienced his first-ever paternity lawsuit, making the pop singer realize just how sneaky and untrustworthy some women can be. So the goddess would be a perfect way to remind him that not all women are bad. In fact, some are loyal, constantly nurturing and even somewhat heavenly (I guess). And maybe this transaction actually happening! It would explain why Charlie was tweeting at Bieber to call him a few weeks back, causing him to accidentally post his cell number to the social media site. They were just trying to schedule the goddess drop off location. Mystery solved! – Kelly Schremph
Daniel Craig Should Give Kris Jenner a Clue
The actor was quoted railing against The Kardashian family in the January issue of GQ. He said, “I think there's a lot to be said for keeping your own counsel. You can't buy it back. You can't buy your privacy back. 'Ooh, I want to be alone. 'F**k you. We've been in your living room. We were at your birth. You filmed it for us and showed us the placenta, and now you want some privacy?” Jenner responded with a publicized cry for his immediate apology. Craig would certainly give Jenner a clue (if it was possible), and explain that just because your family is famous from one amply-bottomed daughter's sex tape with Ray J, doesn't mean you are safe from completely valid opinions from people who are actually famous for a craft. –Kelsea Stahler
Jon Hamm Should Give Henry Cavill Dapper Don Draper Style Tips
Many of us had hoped that Jon Hamm would land the role as Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel, but alas Henry Cavill will don the super suit. And while Cavill has no shortage of good looks or charm, he’s still quite British and Superman is a quintessentially American hero. While those angered at Cavill’s Britishness will have to deal with it, perhaps Hamm could give Cavill a leg up on winning over any dissenters by taking a book out of his Don Draper-esque style guide. We all remember Cavill as the sexy playboy alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ King Henry on The Tudors, but just imagine him waltzing onto the set of a Late Night show when Man of Steel hits theaters in 2013, promoting his latest role while looking like a modern day Don Draper. No one would be able to resist him. – Kelsea Stahler
Adele Should Give Demi Moore Her Album 21
Even though 21 debuted back in January, Adele continues to dominate 2011, picking up "Best of the Year" awards thanks to her soulful voice and collection of emotional tracks. The singer spun a bad break-up into music that people everywhere can't help but connect with—so much so, even the folks at Saturday Night Live owned up to their obsession. So what better way for Demi Moore to cope with her recent (and very public) divorce then a few uplifting jams courtesy of Adel?. Moore's never held back interacting with her fans and if there's anything the masses can relate to, it's the heartbreaking relatability of 21. – Matt Patches
RuPaul Should Give Kate Middleton Queen Advice
This year, the world fell in love with Kate Middleton, the daughter of former flight attendants who lived the real life fantasy of a Royal Wedding. While Middleton's a lovely lady with a keen fashion sense, I'd love to see her inject a little sass into the royal dealings when she becomes queen alongside her husband, Prince William. To help her out, I want RuPaul to package all the seasons of her show Drag Race into one how-to guide to school Middleton in what it takes to be a real queen. Boxing Day will never be the same. – Matt Patches
Tom Cruise Should Give Taylor Lautner the Keys to the Fighter Jet
Taylor Lautner is for all intents and purposes a young Tom Cruise. They're both handsome, always smiling, and, as far as the interviews lead us to believe, stuck somewhere between this world and one far, far away. So much does Lautner remind me of Mr. Cruise, that I think he should actually start taking the man's movie roles. Sure, he could ease into the mix by being Cruise's trainee in the next Mission: Impossible, or something like that. But I have a better idea: I think Tom should just give Lautner the keys to the fighter jet, prop the helmet on him, and call him Maverick. In other words, Tom should give Lautner his role in Top Gun. When they remake the movie...and obviously they're going to remake the movie...I think Tom should hand-write his recommendation for young Taylor Lautner to step in as the star of the film. Some might scoff at the idea, but it'd really be the next best thing to just...watching the original again. And maybe a little Robert Pattinson as Ice Man? No, no, that's going too far. – Michael Arbeiter
Hugh Jackman Should Give James Franco His Powers
In recent times, James Franco has made some unique choices in terms of what projects to take. From a role on General Hospital to teaching a class about himself, the young actor has made it very clear that he is striving to be a master of all fields, a creative visionary, the man who can do it all. But of course, this is impossible. No man on Earth has so much talent that he can excel at any task, no matter how extravagant or minuscule, no matter how commonplace or obscure. In short, nobody is perfect...except, of course, Hugh Jackman. There is literally--and I mean LITERALLY--nothing that Hugh Jackman can't do that wouldn't warrant a nationwide surge of applause immediately thereafter. And so, to the young ambitious Franco, who attempted to follow in Jackman's footsteps with a Hathaway-adjacent Awards Show hosting gig (albeit one that wasn't quite as celebrated), I implore Jackman to, at least for a little while, lend his powers away to Franco. Franco is a charming guy, and a good actor, but he longs to be so much more. You're the only one who can help him, Hugh. Just take some time off from serenading the gods, breathing life into the springtime and giving people everywhere a reason to get up in the morning. Give Franco your magical talents...just for a little while...and see how far he takes them. – Michael Arbeiter