After 40 years, Peter Billingsley has reprised his role as Ralphie from the 1983 classic A Christmas Story for the long-awaited sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas. He recently opened up about how the sacred nature of the original film and his own life was part of the reason his return took so long.
Billingsley explained that he hesitated in reprising the role, given the popularity of A Christmas Story. The film is considered one of the greatest Christmas films ever made and is a yearly tradition for countless families across the nation.
This upped the pressure to create a truly meaningful sequel that could stand on its own and wouldn’t taint the memory of the original film.
This dual role that the sequel had to play required an abundance of caution and made the decision of whether to do it or not more complex.
Billingsley told People of the dilemma, “In movies, you want to play offense — you want to do something great, you want to have momentum, do great storytelling. But in this one, you gotta play defense too because you have to protect, I think, its association to the original.”
Another reason why 40 years marked the perfect time for Billingsley’s return is that he’s now a father in real life. As a result, he could better channel fatherhood in a sequel and explore Ralphie having a family of his own.
How did A Christmas Story Christmas happen?
A Christmas Story Christmas was a delicate matter that took Billingsley many years before he signed on for the film. However, once he did decide to become involved in the project, it took nearly four years to complete.
Billingsley embarked on the journey with his long-time friend, Vince Vaughn, who he met at age 18 when they appeared together on an episode of CBS Schoolbreak Special.
The two have collaborated on other projects, including Billingsley’s directorial debut, Couples Retreat. Both served as producers on A Christmas Story Christmas, while Billingsley also starred in and developed the story.
With the crew complete, the next task was developing the cast. By February 2022, four more original cast members from A Christmas Story joined the project.
Ian Petrella, Zack Ward, Scott Schwartz, and R.D. Robb reprised their roles as Randy, Scut Farkus, Flick, and Schwartz, in A Christmas Story Christmas.
Meanwhile, new cast members Julie Hagerty, Erinn Hayes, River Drosche, and Julianna Layne joined the film as Ralphie’s family.
What is A Christmas Story Christmas about?
A Christmas Story Christmas is set 33 years after the events of the first film. It sees an adult Ralphie (Billingsley) return to his childhood home for Christmas after the passing of his father.
While home for the holidays, he is reunited with his mother (Hagerty) and younger brother Randy (Petrella), as well as several of his childhood friends and even his former bully.
Being back home and missing his father gives Billingsley the idea to give his kids the same kind of Christmas his parents gave him as a child. As a result, he sets out to recreate a magical Christmas akin to the one in A Christmas Story.
The film is dedicated to the memory of Darren McGavin, who played Ralphie’s Old Man in the original film but sadly passed away in 2006.
Melinda Dillon, who originally portrayed Ralphie’s mother, was also missing from the film, given that she retired in 2007. However, A Christmas Story Christmas still has more than enough familiar faces to capitalize on the nostalgia factor.
A Christmas Story Christmas is currently streaming on HBO Max on November 17, 2022, and is now available to stream on the platform.