Billy Bob Thornton


  1. Kevin Spacey,  Wiseguy, TV, 1987-1990.    After burying Billy Bob and Gary Cole, Spacey was selected just three days before shooting  the  first scene of his seven episodes as Mel Profit in  the hot CBS show about Organized Crime Bureau  agent Ken Wahl going undercover in the New York Mafia. The reason Martin Scorsese  had to rename his 1989 film, Goodfellas, the seriesalso provided rare dramatic work for Joe Dallesandro, Deborah Harry,  Jerry Lewis and… underage porno queen Traci Lords.
  2. Tom  Sizemore, Saving Private Ryan,  1998.    “I have  water phobia. I read the opening and I said: Walking on the bottom of the ocean with a pack on my  back? NO!
  3. Michael Keaton,  Jack Frost, 1998.  A jazz musician dies and comes back  – as Frosty The Snowman – to help out his sad son.  Quaid, Tim Allen, George Clooney, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell all passed. Plus Billy Bob Thornton… who went on to be the thoroughly outrageous Bad Santa in 2002 – “a demented, twisted, unreasonably funny work of comic kamikaze style,” praised Roger Ebert.
  4. Sam Shepard, Black Hawk Down, 2001.    He talked about  it but  was too busy to be General William Garrison, in charge of a 30-minute in ‘n’ out Somalian mission that went terribly wrong over 18 hours  in  Mogadishu.
  5. Kevin Spacey, The Shipping News, 2001.    Once Mr  and Mrs Travolta  (Kelly Preston) quit, it  was remodeled for Billy Bob-Meg Ryan – who became  Spacey-Julianne Moore.
  6. William Sadler, The Battle of Shaker Heights, 2002.   Behind the scenes of the second Project Greenlight film made by Miramax and HBOwas more suspenseful than the movie. Christopher McDonaldpassed on the father of the young hero’s girlfriend. Ditto from Billy Bob and Bill Paxton. Gary Cole willingly auditioned but he had no window available. On, desperately, to an unsuitable Christopher Lloyd and he settled foranother gig (how often is there a Haunted Lighthouse movie, after all?).Finally Sadler was seen, signed… and given a mere hour to bond with Shia LaBeouf before their most emotional scene.
  7. Russell Crowe, Cinderella Man, 2005.     Once set to direct himself in the Depression saga about  boxer Jimmy  Braddock.
  8. Jackie Earle Haley, A Nightmare on Elm Street, 2010.     Billy Bob as Freddy Kreuger. Now there’s an idea! After 15 different drafts…(and 21 years of Robert Englund as Freddy). Haley is quite a Thornton lookalike.
  9. Matthew McConaughey, Killer Joe, 2011   .Director William Friedkin firstconsidered“old gorillas” like Billy Bobor Kurt Russellfor the titular cop with the sideline of hit-man.
  10. Woody Harrelson, Out of the Furnace, 2012.      Both Mortensen and Billy Bob Thornton were up for… Curtis DeGroat!

  11. Christoph Waltz, The Zero Theorem, 2012.    Three year earlier Billy Bob hadthe top role – Qohen Leth – but Richard D Zanuck’s projectimploded.Director Terry Gilliam moved on to opera and came back afterZanuick died in 2012when his son, Dean, took over as producer.The third generationD Zanuck – after grandad Darryl and father Dick.   
  12. Woody Harrelson, Out of the Furnace, 2012. Director  Scott Cooper mused about Billy Bob as his villain.






 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  12