Remember the good ol’ days when Billy Bob Thornton’s name was accompanied by the title “writer-director” instead of “Angelina’s ex?” They’re back.
“I just finished directing again for the first time in eleven years,” says Thornton, who most recently voiced a character in this weekend's box office champ "Puss 'N Boots." “It's a movie called 'Jayne Mansfield's Car.’ It takes place in the 1960s and we're hoping that it will come out sometimes late spring or in the fall of next year. We literally just finished it, so we're still working in postproduction on it. It's a movie that stars myself and Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Ray Stevenson and Frances O'Connor. It's a very nice bunch of folks, and a great experience.”
“Tonally it’s 'Sling Blade'-like,” he explains, harkening back to his first feature behind the camera, for which he won an Oscar for original screenplay. “I think there's probably more humor in it than 'Sling Blade' but, once again, very dark humor – as usual. And just so you know, Jayne Mansfield is more of a metaphor for the movie. It's not about Jayne Mansfield's death or anything like that. It's mentioned, but that's not what it's about. It's really about how war affects different generations, and done in sort of a darkly humorous way. And about the examination of life and death and the fear and fascination with both.”
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“There aren't many movies right now that are my style of movies,” he explains of what motivated to self-generate a new project. “The old days are kind of whimpering a little. And I said, ‘Well, instead of complaining, I used to write my own stuff – Do it again.’ And I'm right now in my career just looking at it like I'm starting all over. Like I'm a young filmmaker.”
Thornton tells PopcornBiz getting back behind the camera wasn’t exactly like getting back on a bicycle. “It's so hard,” he says. “There's so much preparation that goes into it. We're shooting Georgia in a hundred degree weather all the time. You don't really have time to get nervous much, to tell you the truth. You get nervous when you're done and they're going to throw it out there to the public. That's when I get nervous. But I've got to say we're very proud of this movie. So if it falls on its ass, I know we did it – you know what I mean?”