Entertainment behind the scenes
Billy Bob Thornton on his music and movies
Billy Bob Thornton has worn a lot of creative hats over the years – actor, director, screenwriter, singer, songwriter and now drummer for The Boxmasters. He gained fame writing and directing 1996 movie “Sling Blade,” but if forced to prioritize his endeavors, Thornton, 52, said he would stick to acting and music. “And I think probably music has a slight edge on the acting,” he told Reuters in a recent interview.
“(Of) the things that I don’t care as much about, the main thing would be directing,” he said. “I’ve only directed movies in self-defense, if I have a story that I really want to tell and I don’t know that I can get it across to another person to direct it, then I do it.”
“Screenwriting is probably the hardest thing to do,” he said. “It’s really not easy to write a good script, it takes lot of concentration and it’s a real solitary thing. I love the result of it. Like I can look at ‘Sling Blade’ and sit back and look at it, I’m very proud of it and I feel a great sense of accomplishment. But the process is very hard.” Thornton won an Oscar for that film’s screenplay.
Thornton is a bit of a music intellectual — his favorite artists include avant-garde rockers Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart. In fact, he said he is ”phone friends” with Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet) who has guarded his privacy since retiring from the music business in the early 1980s. “Very few people talk to him, and I got the opportunity to become friends with him over the phone,” Thornton said of the man who made the influential “Trout Mask Replica” album in 1969.
Thornton’s celebrity status has allowed him to meet many of his music idols, but one artist he would love to meet is J.J. Cale — the Oklahoma-born rocker best known for writing “After Midnight” which Eric Clapton made a hit.
(Reporting and writing by Matthew Lewis)