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Billy Bob's back in Bad Santa 2

AAP logoAAP 23/11/2016 Peter Mitchell

If Willie Soke voted in the recent US presidential election he undoubtedly would have cast his ballot for Donald Trump.

That's, of course, only if Soke wasn't too drunk on cheap whiskey to get to a voting booth or busy committing a robbery or pursuing an illicit sexual escapade.

For Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton, who plays Soke in the dark comedy Bad Santa films, the choice in the recent US presidential election between the brash Republican Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton was not so clear cut.

"I voted," Thornton told AAP in an interview in Los Angeles this week.

"Traditionally I'm a liberal, a Democrat, but this wasn't easy for anyone."

Thornton, 61, just like many Americans, has found himself feeling uneasy about the future of his nation and, more importantly, for his five children.

"That's what you think about," Thornton, who didn't reveal who he voted for, said.

"My youngest daughter is only 12.

"I think about her future."

The despicable Soke doesn't have children - well, not that he knows about.

The closest he comes to is Thurman Merman, a chubby, dim-witted kid who followed Soke around like a lost puppy in 2003's Bad Santa and returns as an over-sized young man in the sequel, Bad Santa 2.

The new film is set in Chicago with Soke, his angry sidekick Marcus (played by Tony Cox) and Soke's just as deplorable "super butch, super bitch" mother with the ironic name, Sunny (Kathy Bates), planning a Christmas eve heist on a charity.

Thornton said "business red tape" with studios changing hands forced the 13-year delay in the sequel.

But, he hopes the timing of its release just days after the US election will give an anxious world an opportunity to laugh.

"This is a dark Christmas comedy with a little ray of hope in it," Thornton said.

The original, with a drunk Soke dressed in a Santa Claus suit doing and saying things nobody wants to imagine Father Christmas doing, found a huge, loyal band of fans.

His daughter Bella has not watched it.

"Her mum told her a long time ago 'You don't want to see this' not that I would let her," Thornton laughed.

"But, you'd be surprised when I'm out somewhere and young kids with their parents yell out to me, 'There's Bad Santa'.

"I think 'Please don't tell me you let your kids watch that'."

Thornton is surprised just how much Trump's victory has impacted him.

Before his screenwriting and acting career took off in 1996 with the Oscar-winning independent drama Sling Blade, Arkansas-born Thornton suffered through awful, labour-intensive jobs on road crews and at saw mills, factories and car repair places.

In those early days of struggle he got in the habit of carrying a "shop towel", a small coloured rag he would dangle out of his back pocket so he could clean his hands.

He still carries them as a tribute to his early years, but two days after Trump's election win one of his towels caused him some angst.

"This how paranoid I am and it says how quickly people in our society judge," Thornton says.

He was walking out of his Los Angeles home to his car, realised he had a red rag hanging out of his pocket and quickly turned around and went back inside the house.

"I tossed it on the couch," he said.

"My wife said, 'What are doing?'

"I said, 'I just happened to think if I wear this shop towel in my back pocket somebody who is against Republicans is going to yell, 'You bastard' thinking I'm advertising I'm a red state guy, which I wasn't.

"It's just a shop towel.

"If I wore a blue shop towel it would be the same thing because I don't want the trouble of it.

"It's just a shame before you go out of the house you have to think, 'Oh wait a minute I'm wearing a red or blue shirt'."

Bad Santa 2 opens in Australia on November 24.

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