Back in 1996 when Billy Bob Thornton directed his first feature, Sling Blade, I thought that he had made his mark and was going to become one of the big directors working in Hollywood. That never happened, though. After that he only directed the Cormac McCarthy adaptation All the Pretty Horses in 2000 and then Daddy and Them, a movie I don’t even remember existing, in 2001. I guess the guy just decided that he’d rather be an actor than a director. And that’s fine, but now that he’s getting a bit older it seems like the directing bug might have bit once again.
Last year he directed both a Willie Nelson documentary called The King of Luck, which is currently looking for distribution deals, and a dramatic film called Jayne Mansfield’s Car, which just played Berlinale. And apparently he’s not stopping there, because Variety has news that Thornton and his writing partner Tom Epperson are already set to collaborate on another project that Thornton will helm.
The film, called And Then We Drove, is the first under $20m feature that will spring from a $120m film fund started by producer Alexander Rodnyansky. Why did Rodnyansky choose this project to be the first of the up to 6 films he will fund? He said, “I found the story amazing. It’s a pretty new combination of genres to put into one movie,” then concluded by adding, “It’s based on his experiences in many ways.”
What sorts of experiences, you ask? Billy Bob himself says the movie is about, “a guy who’s on a road trip and picks up this girl along the way, and what happens to them. It’s about the question of life: ‘What is this? Where do I fit in?’” That’s not the whole of it though. Inside sources (including Rodnyansky) are gossiping that the script is largely about Thornton’s relationship with a little known actress he was once married to named Angelina Jolie. Juicy!
Whether it ends up containing any hot gossip or not, I’m just glad to hear that Thornton is back to directing again. I always wondered what he could accomplish if he focused most of his energies on telling stories, and he hasn’t exactly been lighting my world on fire lately with his acting career. I mean, I liked Mr. Woodcock as much as the next guy, but let’s be honest here.