The big blockbuster and superhero movies can be a lot of fun, but sometimes quiet character films can be just as magical. And when the talent of actor/filmmaker Billy Bob Thornton is involved, that movie is sure to be equal parts compelling and quirky. Jayne Mansfield’s Car is set in 1969 in a small Alabama town, when the death of an eccentric family’s long-estranged wife and mother brings together two very different families for the funeral, forcing their differences to light and exposing truths that could lead to the most unexpected outcomes. The cast includes Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick, Ray Stevenson, Katherine LaNasa and Frances O’Connor.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor/writer/director Billy Bob Thornton talked about why it’s taken him so many years to direct again, why he chose to do this script with a writing partner, how Jayne Mansfield’s car became a part of the story, how challenging the editing process is, having to cut Tippi Hedren out of the movie for time, and how he’ll probably include one of her scenes on the DVD. He also talked about his desire to someday put his director’s cut of All the Pretty Horses on DVD, how everyone involved still wants to make Bad Santa 2 happen, what drew him to the FX mini-series Fargo, which Joel and Ethan Coen are executive producers on, and how he’ll probably wait at least a couple of years before he directs again. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
More acquisition news from the Toronto International Film Festival:
- Focus Features picked up the U.S. rights to The Place Beyond the Pines, the drama written and directed Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), led by Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Eva Mendes.
- Anchor Bay will distribute the Billy Bob Thorton‘s Jayne Mansfield’s Car. Thorton co-stars with Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Katherine LaNasa, Ray Stevenson and Robert Patrick.
- Arclight Films acquired Storm Surfers 3D, the Australian documentary (narrated by Toni Collette) about two-time world surfing champion Tom Carroll and big wave pioneer Ross Clarke-Jones.
Hit the jump for details on each project.
The jaw-dropping lineup for the upcoming Toronto Film Festival was announced this morning, and a number of images and synopses have been released for films that will be screening at the prestigious fest. Briefly, here’s a batch of new images:
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Directed by Stephen Chbosky) Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Nina Dobrev, Melanie Lynskey, Paul Rudd, and Dylan McDermott.
- Jayne Mansfield’s Car (Directed by Billy Bob Thornton) Starring Thornton, Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon, and John Hurt.
- The Impossible (Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona) Starring Naomi Watts, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, and Ewan McGregor.
- Byzantium (Directed by Neil Jordan) Starring Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Sam Riley, and Jonny Lee Miller.
Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses.
The line-up for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival has been announced and it is a doozy. The festival will play host to some of the year’s biggest world premieres including Rian Johnson‘s Looper (which will be the festival’s opening night film), The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer‘s Cloud Atlas, Ben Affleck‘s Argo, David O. Russell‘s The Silver Linings Playbook, Derek Cianfrance‘s The Place Beyond the Pines, Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado About Nothing, Noah Baumbach‘s Frances Ha, and Neil Jordan‘s Byzantium. Films making their International/North American debuts (which means that they’ll like show up at the Venice Film Festival first) include Terrence Malick‘s To the Wonder, Joe Wright‘s Anna Karenina, Robert Redford‘s The Company You Keep, and Billy Bob Thornton‘s Jayne Mansfield’s Car.
Hit the jump for the first wave of announced films. The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 – 16th.
The first trailer for Billy Bob Thornton’s latest directorial effort, Jayne Mansfield’s Car, has landed online by way of an international trailer. The story revolves around a man whose wife leaves him for an Englishman and moves away to England. 20 or 30 years later, in 1969, the wife dies but wishes to be returned to Alabama where she grew up, so the English family meets—and clashes with—the original family that she abandoned. The film is still awaiting a U.S. distribution deal despite a seriously stacked cast that includes Thornton, Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Frances O’Connor, Robert Patrick, and Ray Stevenson.
There are laughs to be found in the first half of the trailer which centers on the culture clash between the two families, but the second half hints at some genuinely touching drama that comes out of the situation. I’m eager to see how the full feature plays out, especially since Thornton hasn’t directed since 2001’s Daddy and Them. Hit the jump to watch the trailer.
The 62nd Berlin International Film Festival has added a few new films to its program. Declan Donnellan and Nick Omerod’s adaptation of the 1885 Guy de Maupassant novel Bel-Ami will finally premiere out of competition at the festival. The film stars Robert Pattinson, Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman, and Kristin Scott Thomas and has been lingering without a U.S. release date for some time now. It’s set to open in the U.K. in March, and hopefully with this Berlin premiere the drama will pick up some steam and head towards a domestic release.
Additionally, Steven Soderbergh’s action spy-thriller Haywire has also been selected to screen out of competition at the fest. Featuring MMA fighter Gina Carano surrounded by an all-star cast of Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Fassbender, the pic opens today here in the U.S. Also poised to screen at the festival is Billy Bob Thornton’s Jayne Mansfield’s Car, the drama Shadow Dancer starring Clive Owen, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Billy Bob Thornton hasn’t directed a feature film since 2001’s Daddy and Them. Well, last November Thornton broke the news to us that he was once again stepping back into the director’s chair on a film he co-wrote with his writing partner Tom Epperson called Jayne Mansfield’s Car. Now it looks like Thornton is ready to start shooting on the project, as he’s secured funding and has filled out his cast with John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick, Ray Stevenson (Thor) and John Patrick Amedori (The Butterfly Effect) joining previously announced Robert Duvall.
Deadline reports that AR Films is funding the project, which is set to start shooting on June 22nd in Georgia. The story revolves around a guy whose wife leaves him for an Englishman and moves away to England. 20 or 30 years later, in 1969, the wife dies but wishes to be returned to Alabama where she grew up, so the English family meets—and clashes with—the original family that she abandoned. While Thornton’s All the Pretty Horses left much to be desired, Sling Blade was a bit of a masterwork. Hopefully he can recapture that magic with this southern tale.
We have a couple of casting stories for you this evening. We previously broke the news that Billy Bob Thorton was heading back to the director’s chair with a script he co-wrote with Tom Epperson called Jayne Mansfield’s Car, and now it looks like the project has found its star. Robert Duvall has signed on to headline the indie project, which Duvall describes as “another Southern tale.” He elaborated on the plot in a conversation with EW
“It’s about a guy in between WWI and WWII who raises a family after his wife left him for an Englishman and moved to England. When the wife dies, she asks to be brought back to Alabama to be buried, and at that point the character hasn’t seen her in 20 or 30 years. The two families — her original family she abandoned and her English family — meet and then things get really interesting.”
Thorton will reportedly star in the film as well, in addition to writing and directing it. Production is scheduled to begin this summer. We recently told you that Michelle Pfieffer would be joining Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks and Olivia Wilde in Alex Kurtzman’s directorial debut Welcome to People, and now it looks like Mark Duplass (Greenberg, co-writer/co-director of Cyrus) has signed on as well. Variety reports that Duplass is set to play a neighbor who shows an interest in Banks’ character. The film tells the story of an estranged son (Pine) who returns home for his father’s funeral and begins to uncover his secret life. Welcome to People is set to be released sometime in 2012.