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A not-so 'Wonderful' idea?

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A sequel to the classic "It's a Wonderful Life" is being planned
  • The plot follows the Bailey family after the original movie ended
  • Karolyn Grimes, who played 6-year-old Zuzu in the 1946 film, has been cast in the sequel

By Doug Ganley

A sequel to Frank Capra's classic 1946 film "It's a Wonderful Life" is in the works, but it might take a Christmas miracle to turn this reboot into a classic.

According to a news release from film financier Allen J. Schwalb and his company Star Partners, "It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story" will tell what happened to the Baileys of Bedford Falls after the first movie ended.

To help bridge the two films, producers announced that Karolyn Grimes, who at 6-years-old played Zuzu Bailey alongside Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, will reprise her role.

Grimes might have been charming as little Zuzu in the original, but her film resume ended roughly when her teens started in 1952. There are also talks with other living original cast members to see if they would sign on to the movie, which may sound like a holiday treat to some and like a lump of coal to many.

"It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story" will be written by Bob Farnsworth, known primarily as a music producer, and Martha Bolton, whose resume largely consists of her work done on Bob Hope specials in the 1980s and '90s. Schwalb has financed a long list of films -- including "Rain Man," "The Color Purple" and "Thelma and Louise" -- but most of them were hits in the last century, and his credits as a producer appear to be minimal.

Despite a reported $25 million to $32 million budget and an projected release next holiday season, the movie resembles an independent film rather than a high-profile sequel.

And that's if it can even get off the ground; the copyright to the original is its own complicated story.

NBC controls the rights to "It's a Wonderful Life." At one point, it was believed to have been part of the public domain and these new filmmakers seem to be operating as if it is.

Requests for comment from NBC have not been returned, but it's worth noting the network has been protective enough of the classic's legacy that it airs the film sparingly even during the holidays.

For his part, Schwalb says this new movie would continue the classic story for "an entirely new generation of moviegoers" and he is proud "to be involved in moving this story forward."
   
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