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Billy Bob Thornton To Make Directorial Return With 'Jayne Mansfield's Car'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist November 22, 2010 at 2:00AM

'Bad Santa 2' Also In The Works Midway through what's now nearly 25 years in the film business, Billy Bob Thornton gave his career new life by writing, directing and acting in the drama "Sling Blade," picking up a Best Screenplay Academy Award for his troubles. While the film quickly became an easy punchline (really, who among 1990s stand-up comedians didn't have a Sling Blade impersonation in their repertoire?), it holds up well today, and seemed to signal the arrival of a major directorial talent.
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'Bad Santa 2' Also In The Works



Midway through what's now nearly 25 years in the film business, Billy Bob Thornton gave his career new life by writing, directing and acting in the drama "Sling Blade," picking up a Best Screenplay Academy Award for his troubles. While the film quickly became an easy punchline (really, who among 1990s stand-up comedians didn't have a Sling Blade impersonation in their repertoire?), it holds up well today, and seemed to signal the arrival of a major directorial talent.

But his follow-up, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "All The Pretty Horses," had a troubled post-production history, with Harvey Weinstein forcing Thornton to cut an hour from his director's cut (there's long been talk of a DVD release for the untouched version, but it has never emerged), and his third film "Daddy & Them" basically sank without a trace, and Thornton hasn't stepped behind the camera since.

While he's got another paycheck cop role coming up, opposite Dwayne Johnson in this week's "Faster," Thornton spoke to Collider while on promotional duties for that film, and told them that he may be about ready to put on his director's hat once more. Thornton says that "My old writing partner Tom Epperson and I just wrote another script, we haven't written together in years, 15 maybe. And we're hoping to get that made in the spring, that's what we're working on right now."

Epperson and Thornton wrote Carl Franklin's excellent noir "One False Move" together, as well as the Robert Duvall drama "A Family Thing," while Epperson was also behind the script for Sam Raimi's supernatural drama "The Gift." There's no word on plot details, but Thornton did give away the title -- "Jayne Mansfield's Car." We're sure more news'll be forthcoming, if the film gets some traction.

Furthermore, the actor also hinted that a sequel may be in the works for perhaps his most indelible film of the last decade, the cult comedy "Bad Santa." He told Collider that "there's been talk of making a sequel to it, which I actually would like to do. I've never done a sequel to one of my movies, but that one makes sense to me to do it."

It seems like very early stages, and it's unclear where the overtures to make a sequel are coming from: at the very least, it doesn't sound like original helmer Terry Zwigoff's involved. With the film's writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa having made an impressive directorial debut on "I Love You Philip Morris," and with the promising "Crazy Stupid Love" on the way next year, maybe they'll want to finish what they started? Either way, we're pleased -- "Bad Santa" has nestled comfortably between "Die Hard" and "The Apartment" in our annual Christmas triple-bill, and it's one film we'd be glad to see a sequel to, even if it seems a few years away yet.

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Bad Santa 2, Jayne Mansfield's Car, Billy Bob Thornton


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