Billy Bob Thornton's Blunt Response To Having To Sign Sling Blade DVDs At His Band's Shows
Fame is a fickle beast. You never know what project is going to catapult you into the stratosphere as an artist, musician, or performer. And so you might have to deal with an old project from fans because THAT's what they know you from. I bet Tom Hanks still gets Bosom Buddies references from fans. And Julia Roberts likely gets Notting Hill or Pretty Woman quotes hurled at her all of the time. For Bad Santa 2 star Billy Bob Thornton, it was Sling Blade that made him a household name, so fans approach him with DVDs to get signatures. Only, there are times when they probably shouldn't.
With Bad Santa 2 about to hit theaters, Billy Bob Thornton's making the press rounds, and GQ has a feature where they caught up with the actor on the road... where he's touring as a musician with The Boxmasters. The whole piece paints Thornton as a surly dude, particularly when people come up to him RIGHT after a concert and ask him to sign a DVD of Sling Blade, the 1996 drama in which Thornton played a mentally challenged man released from a hospital. Or, as Billy Bob puts it:
So yeah, he's not crazy about the fact that some fans still relate him to something he did 20 years ago. Though, arguably, Sling Blade IS his most recognizable role (outside of a Santa suit), but Billy Bob Thornton's making a bigger point. He's an artist. He's creative. He's in the NOW, and he just laid his soul bare for you on stage as a member of The Boxmasters. It's not the best time in the world to have him recognize his 20-year-old movie. Comment on his songs. Credit his music.
At least it's not a DVD of Armageddon, though, right Billy Bob?
I'd never heard Billy Bob Thornton play with The Boxmasters. They sound like this:
But I sure do know him from Sling Blade, as his guttural Sling Blade voice was half of the work that earned him his Best Actor nomination (and a win for writing):
So, lesson learned. Billy Bob Thornton's cool with you loving Sling Blade. He gets it. But right after a concert? Leave him alone. And go see Bad Santa 2.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.