Mike Fleming

Billy Bob Thornton has set Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick and Ray Stevenson to star with Thornton in Jayne Mansfield’s Car, the first dramatic feature that Thornton has directed since 2001′s Daddy and Them. The film is being funded by AR Films, whose principal, Alexander Rodnyansky, will produce with Media Talent Group’s Geyer Kosinski. Production begins June 22 in Georgia.

Thornton, who co-wrote the script with frequent collaborator Tom Epperson, has been mobilizing the picture for a while and just locked his final cast. He has also set John Patrick Amedori to play a lead in the film. A comedy with dramatic overtone, it revolves around the culture clash of two families, from different continents, in 1969.

Rodnyansky is the founder of the Ukrainian TV channel 1+1 and former CEO of CTC Media when it became the biggest independent publicly traded media conglomerate in Russia with five channels in three countries. He has produced over 20 TV series and 30 films including Elena, which received the Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes last month. “I’ve started to look for opportunities in America, and this is definitely not a single picture strategy,” he told me. “When I read that script, I fell in love with it. I was a fan of Sling Blade and Billy Bob’s other movies. No matter where you are making movies, it’s all about the script.”

Thornton has been busy with his music, and he delivered strong performances in films like Monster’s Ball, Bad Santa and Love Actually. He also recently directed The King of Luck, a documentary about Willie Nelson. If he’s got another Sling Blade or All the Pretty Horses in him, welcome back to the director’s chair, Billy Bob.