Suzanne Todd says latest film in Mila Kunis-starring series sets up threequel
Is Christmas the happiest time of the year? Or the hardest? Bad Moms producer Suzanne Todd argues that, for many mothers, the latter is very much the case. Which is exactly why the 2016 comedy hit’s sequel A Bad Moms Christmas, out Nov. 1, is set during the Yuletide season.
“What we found out, from people watching the first Bad Moms movie, is they really related to the idea of how hard it is to be a good mom, and how incredibly hard we all try, and then we are all pretty hard on ourselves about it,” says Todd, herself a mother of three, whose other credits include the Austin Powers films and 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. “So, in wanting to make another movie, and continue the journey of these characters that we love so much, Scott [Moore] and Jon [Lucas], the writer-directors, really looked at the holidays as the one time of year when, to be a mom, it’s extra hard. It’s literally the Super Bowl of mom-dom. You have to do everything you normally do, plus you have to do tags, and packages, and send out Christmas cards, and everything else.”
A Bad Moms Christmas finds returning stars Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, and Kristen Bell joined by Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, and Cheryl Hines, who play our heroines’ respective mothers. “They are the grandmoms,” says Todd. “And in real life, each one of those actresses has a daughter. It was so fun. It made me wish that we had 10 parts or 12 parts, because it’s an age and category where there are so many incredibly talented actresses.”
Todd began her career working for mega-producer Joel Silver on the likes of Die Hard 2, Hudson Hawk, and the 1990 Danny Glover-starring sci-fi sequel, Predator 2. “I worked for Joel for a very long time on a lot of action movies, and a lot of movies that had a number behind the title, and had some amazing Hollywood experiences,” she says. “Predator 2 was, for sure, a crazy experience. People really love Predator 2 and, obviously, that character is one that has continuing appeal. But Predator 2, like a lot of those movies, some of the hardest parts really just had to do with the prosthetics, and the costume, and the visual effects. It was right before some of these technological breakthroughs, so it was more difficult then to make things look good in the same time frame.”
In the mid-’90s, Todd joined forces with her sister Jennifer to produce the hugely successful Austin Powers franchise and then helped bring Christopher Nolan’s breakthrough film, 2000’s non-linear thriller Memento, to the big screen. “That was when I was still working with my sister at our company, Team Todd,” she says. “We had read the script and just loved it. You read so many scripts, it’s very rare, once a year or less, that you read something that really grabs your attention, and you feel like it’s special. Chris hadn’t done an American movie and no one wanted to take it on. This small company Newmarket agreed eventually to finance it for a very very low budget. We had never made an independent movie, we had only made studio movies before, and so it was just an entirely different endeavor, of working for free, and not having trailers. We shot it all in and around L.A. [during] a very hot summer. I remember one day when we were shooting in Burbank, and it must have been a hundred and ten degrees. I remember saying to Christopher Nolan, ‘It’s so hot, don’t you want to take you jacket off?’ Because he wears a blazer every day. He said, ‘I wear my jacket out of respect for the crew.’ He has such great character and is also incredibly talented. It doesn’t always work that way in Hollywood.”
Todd is capable of gambling both on and off the job. A poker fiend, the producer helps organize an annual tournament in Las Vegas to benefit the charity Tia’s Hope and has even played at the World Series of Poker. “I made the second day, which is not very far,” she says. “My girls’ group and I often go, when the schedules line up, and we play in the ladies event. So, I’ve gone to the World Series a lot, but, I’ve only played in the main event once. But it’s really fun. I love that event. There’s kind of a buzz, an electricity. And my charity, which I sit on the board of, Tia’s Hope, we host a giant poker tournament, with lots and lots of fun Hollywood people and actors. It’s our fourth year coming up and it’s in March in Las Vegas. And Tia’s Hope is a beautiful charity. We go into hospitals and provide support for children — and their parents — who are in long-term care. We started with one hospital, the City of Hope in L.A., and we have 10 hospitals across the country, and we’re growing every year.”
This poker-playing mother concedes that some of her own experiences have helped inspire elements of the Bad Moms films. “Well, the writer-directors like to say that they turn to me for the stuff that has to do with men, because they’re both married, and I’m single,” says Todd, laughing. “I guess part of that is true. They are always kind of pumping me for bad date stories and the rest of that. But a lot of it is not only my experience but as we found out [with the] first movie, things that people felt had been ripped from the pages of their real lives. You know, the idea of being a working mom at a school where not all the other moms are working. I think so much of it is my experience and a lot of other people’s experience.”
Todd is calling EW from Vancouver, where she is producing another Christmas film, called Nicole. “I’m so excited,” she says. “It is a Santa Claus movie, a female Santa Claus movie, for Disney, starring Anna Kendrick, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Hader, Bill Eichner, Julie Hagerty. So many funny people.”
Are there plans for a third Bad Moms movie, should the second film prove a hit? Todd is keeping her cards close to her chest when it comes to that particular subject, but admits she is not against the idea of continuing the franchise into threequel territory.
“Well, I don’t want to spoil the ending of this film,” she says. “But, when we have shown it in previews, there was some crazy percentage of people who said, ‘Please make a third movie as soon as possible.’ Because there is kind of a jumping off point at the end of the movie for maybe what you would do if you were going to do another movie. We will have to see. The first movie came out in summer. This movie comes out in the very, very crowded holiday season. I mean, as we point out in the movie, moms are busier than ever, so we’re counting on them to do all their business and also come see a movie. All I can say is, ‘We will see.'”
Watch the trailer for A Bad Moms Christmas above.