Ten years or so ago, Billy Bob Thornton was juggling his acting gigs with a burgeoning career as a director, getting behind the camera for the likes of Sling Blade and All The Pretty Horses. That era seemed to pass, with Thornton apparently content simply to act again, but he recently scratched a new directorial itch with Jayne Mansfield's Car. Now there's a trailer online to give us a glimpse of what he came up with.
The film is set in the late 1960s, and involves the culture clash of an American family and a British one thrown together in the States for a funeral. The car in which Jayne Mansfield was killed seems to drive into the mix as a ghoulish travelling attraction. On the clip's evidence, we can expect some emotional heft within the individual families, as well as between them, with the Americans in particular singled out for some father-son drama.
Thornton has assembled a heavyweight cast to carry all this angst, an ensemble that includes Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Ray Stevenson, Robert Patrick, Frances O'Connor, Shawnee Smith and Tippi Hedren. And Thornton himself, of course.
What he hasn't drummed up so far is much in the way of distribution. Jayne Mansfield's Car has been doing the festival rounds looking for the right partner, but Thornton's strong desire for a theatrical release is proving a sticking point for some reason. The director seems to have relented in the case of Australia, however, with this trailer heralding the film's DVD debut down under. We don't seem to have any prospect of seeing it in the UK for the time being, but watch this space.