Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

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