Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie

Billy Bob Thornton: "My Career As A Writer-Director Is Probably Over"

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist April 9, 2014 at 11:05AM

Billy Bob Thornton couldn't have dreamed of a better reception for his feature length directorial debut, "Sling Blade." The critically acclaimed film marked the arrival of a writer/director with a unique voice, and his feature, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "All The Pretty Horses" nearly destroyed him. Battling with The Weinstein Company, Thornton saw his version of the movie cut to ribbons. "They saw the cast, the director, Billy Bob Thornton, and the fact that we spent $50 million, and they never released our movie—though the cut still exists," Matt Damon said a couple years back. "Billy had a heart problem at that time, and it was because his heart fucking broke from fighting for that film. It really fucked him up. It still bothers me to this day." And it would seem Thornton is done banging his head against the wall in Hollywood trying to make his more literary leaning films.
7
Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton couldn't have dreamed of a better reception for his feature length directorial debut, "Sling Blade." The critically acclaimed film marked the arrival of a writer/director with a unique voice, and his feature, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "All The Pretty Horses" nearly destroyed him. Battling with Miramax/the Weinsteins, Thornton saw his version of the movie cut to ribbons. "They saw the cast, the director, Billy Bob Thornton, and the fact that we spent $50 million, and they never released our movie—though the cut still exists," Matt Damon said a couple years back. "Billy had a heart problem at that time, and it was because his heart fucking broke from fighting for that film. It really fucked him up. It still bothers me to this day." And it would seem Thornton is done banging his head against the wall in Hollywood trying to make his more literary leaning films.

Doing the rounds for FX's "Fargo," Thornton recently chatted with Reuters and was candid about the fact that there simply isn't space for his kind of movies anymore. "All of a sudden, the higher-budget independent films, or the mid-level budget studio movies - the $20-25 million studio movies - and that's where I lived ... there was no place for me," he said, explaining his transition to the TV series.

"I'm influenced as a writer by Southern novelists. That's the kind of movies I do as a writer-director...So my career as a writer-director is probably over," Thornton continued. "And so I started thinking, 'What do you do?' All that stuff's gone, and then when I started studying television and getting into it, I realized, 'OK, that's where it went.' "

It's disheartening, but Thornton already suggested as much last year in our interview with him for his last directorial effort "Jayne Mansfield's Car,"  "I don’t really make movies that are what’s popular now. There’s too much talking in them, or they’re too long; ten years ago no one said that," he lamented.

The actor/writer/director believes the era of sitting back in a dark room and watching a lavish, epic drama unfold in the cinema is now gone. "You know, you can't make a three-and-a-half hour movie. That attention span is gone for theaters," he said to Reuters. "So what about making 'Gone with the Wind' kind of movies that have intermissions and put them on television? That way, a guy like me, who always gets his ass handed to him by the critics for having a movie that's too slow and too long...won't be too slow and too long for television. Pee anytime you want. Make a cheeseburger, anything you want to do."

One wonders if some of Thornton's cynicism comes from the middling reception to his aforementioned last film, a very Southern story that got a limited release and then essentially vanished from theaters. It would be too bad if Thornton packed it all in as a writer/director, but hopefully he realizes that TV could be the format against which to tell a sprawling story, with the kind of budgets he's not getting from the major studios.

This article is related to: Billy Bob Thornton


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates