Ron Shelton Wants To Go POUND FOR POUND with Billy Bob Thornton

     August 21, 2009

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Billy Bob Thornton is now set to star in “Pound for Pound,” a boxing drama based on a novel from F.X. Toole, the author of the book that became “Million Dollar Baby.”  The film will be written and directed by Ron Shelton (“Tin Cup”, “Bull Durham”) and will begin to film early next year.  To find out more about “Pound for Pound” and why I think this is an odd choice for Shelton click the jump.

I recently wrote about Shelton’s latest project earlier this week and in that write up I talked about how it seemed like something that Shelton would do.  Shelton is known for making some lighthearted sports movies which seem to be a hit with mainstream America. So, I am a little bit surprised that he would decide to take on this project which sounds pretty damn dark from the THR report:

billy_bob_thornton_01.jpg“The project centers on the parallel lives of a retired and widowed boxer beset by depression after his grandson is killed in a car accident and an up-and-coming teenage Latino fighter from a difficult background. The lives of the two intersect in unexpected ways. Thornton will play the retired boxer, while producers are out to cast on the younger role.”

I’m sure that Shelton will manage to work in some comedy during the scenes of Thornton and the young, but troubled, boxer.  Plus, this quote from producer Leslie Greif: “Unlike ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ which was fabulous but a dark movie and a tragic story, this is a dark story but with a life-affirming, hopeful ending,” leads me to believe that it won’t all be tears and sadness.  Ok, maybe there will be tears, but they will be tears of happiness and life-affirming joy.

The film also looks to start filming early next year.  What this means for Shelton’s previously announced golf comedy, “Q School”, starring Dennis Quaid and Tim Allen is anyone’s guess.  I think that between the two projects I much prefer to see “Pound for Pound” make it to the screen first.  I feel that its been awhile since we have been treated to a memorable performance by Billy Bob Thornton and this looks like it could be a perfect showcase for his talents..  You might also remember Shelton previously exploring the sport of boxing by writing and directing 1999’s boxing comedy, “Play it to the Bone”, but you also might not since it was also very forgettable.

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