Gary Susman
April 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Billy Bob Thornton and screenwriters Glenn Ficarra and John Requa like movies with the word ”Bad” in the title. The ”Bad Santa” trio’s next project, according to the Hollywood Reporter, is a remake of ”The Bad News Bears” for Paramount, the studio behind the 1976 film and its two sequels. Thornton, currently on screen in ”The Alamo,” would follow up his ”Santa” role as a boozy department store Kris Kringle by stepping into the cleats of Walter Matthau, who starred in ”Bears” as a beer-chugging, cantankerous coach of a team of Little League misfits.

Variety notes that the project is the latest in a series of Paramount’s remakes of its old films; after all the studio’s biggest 2003 hit was its update of ”The Italian Job.” This summer will see new versions of ”The Stepford Wives” and ”The Manchurian Candidate,” and there are at least seven others in the works, including Paramount’s coproduction with Sony of ”The Longest Yard,” starring Adam Sandler in the Burt Reynolds role of a quarterback for a football team of prison inmates. This week, the filmmakers cast Reynolds as the team’s coach. No word on whether the ”Bad News Bears” redo has a role for Tatum O’Neal.

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