Cox, who played the sidekick to Thornton's drunk conman in the 2003 comedy, could not bring himself to hit the Oscar winner for a fight scene, and so his co-star had to find a way to make him mad.

"Tony is literally the nicest guy I ever met," Thornton tells WENN. "On the first movie there was one scene where he beat me up on the chair. (Director) Terry Zwigoff really wanted him to get up there on me but Tony doesn't have that part of him that would want to beat me up, because we're buddies.

"Terry said, 'Is there anything you could do?' So I told Tony one day that his wife had been flirting with me. In all seriousness I said, 'Dude, I don't know what it is with your wife, man, but she just wants to fool around'."

The ruse worked and Cox started beating Thornton up, and when cameras rolled, he was seething.

"He started slapping me in the face," Billy Bob giggles. "The next take was perfect. After that I said, 'I was just messing with ya!'"

Thornton and Cox reteam for the upcoming sequel, which also features Kathy Bates, Christina Hendricks, and Brett Kelly, who was only eight when he shot the first movie.

Kelly recalls the abuse his chubby young character had to take from Billy Bob's Bad Santa, but reveals it didn't stick with him because he learned his lines by reading the script with his dad.

"Everyone always thinks I must've been scarred, because I was only eight, hanging around with this sack (Billy Bob) over here," Brett explains. "I had to audition six or seven times and every time I had to run lines with my dad. Once you get accustomed to taking this abuse from your own father it's pretty easy just have someone else do it."