It’s no rest for the wicked Billy Bob Thornton. Following his roles as a crooked Claus in Terry Zwigoff’s recently completed “Bad Santa” and Davy Crockett in John Lee Hancock’s currently shooting “The Alamo” with something much quieter, he returns to his home state of Arkansas this May to begin production on “Chrystal,” the feature directing debut from Ray McKinnon.
McKinnon, the character actor from “Apollo 13” and “O Brother, Where Art Thour,” won an Academy Award last year for his live action short “The Accountant.” He wrote the screenplay for “Chrystal” last year specifically for his wife, Lisa Blount (“An Officer and A Gentleman”) and Thornton, whom he acted with in Robby Benson’s “The Badge” in 2001. The pair will play Chrystal and Bob, a couple reunited after sixteen years, after he returns to their home in the Ozarks after spending time in prison for his part in a horrific car accident, one which left her badly injured and their only child lost forever. Only when Joe returns can they both begin their journey toward forgiveness and atonement.
Chrystal will find help in Kalid, a striking and dignified older African-American man, blind since childhood, who has come to the area to research the region’s music for a book he is compiling on world folk music. It is through his support that Chrystal will find her true voice, allowing her to begin the healing process with Joe. Joe, on the other hand, has to comes to terms with his past through a group of crank addicted mountain men (led by Snake, to be played by McKinnon) who are determined to either bring Joe back into the fold or take him down once and for all.
The low budgeted film is currently without a distributor, and likely will be completed in time to premiere at next year’s American Film Market.
Director: Ray McKinnon
Writer: Ray McKinnon
Producers: Bruce Heller, David Koplan
Featuring: Lis Blount, Walton Goggins, Ray McKinnon, Billy Bob Thornton
Casting Director: Emily Schweber
Production Start Date: May 28, 2003
Shooting Locations: Arkansas