I’ll let you into a little secret – I’ve always had a thing for Billy Bob Thornton. Not only do I think he is a far better actor than Brad, in my opinion he is a much more handsome man who relies on ability, wit and a dry sense of humour to perfect his work. Unlike Pitt who used his pretty boy looks for years until he had to go behind the camera lens when younger guys came along and stole his Hollywood teenage crown. It therefore always made sense that Billy Bob would be able to snag a beautiful yet vulnerable woman like Angelina Jolie, I mean, can you imagine the blond Mr Perfect Pitt wearing a vial of her blood around his neck? He’d want it tested for viruses first! But I digress. Whatever their relationship was, it ended and now she is with Pitt but now Billy Bob has revealed in his new autobiography that he and Angelina will ‘always’ be friends.
The 56-year-old actor married Angelina in 2000 and the marriage lasted three years but the couple still get on well; well enough for his ex wife to have written the foreward to his book in fact. And it may surprise some people to know that they still talk on a regular basis. As Billy Bob commented in an interview to promote his new book, on a talk show with Anderson Cooper recently, “Absolutely we’re friends. We’ve always been friends. See in the press ladies and gentleman sometimes if you get a divorce everyone assumes it was nasty and it’s not always. It’s not that I haven’t had a couple of nasty ones, but this was not one of them.” The actor went on to say how ‘proud’ he was of Angelina and her fiance Brad Pitt on raising their six children together. He said, “I’m proud of the way she’s handled having a family. She’s great for Brad, Brad’s great for her. I support them 100 per cent. Angie is a little girl and a woman and a teenager and a ghost all wrapped up in one.”
In Billy Bob’s new autobiography, entitled ‘The Billy Bob Tapes: A Cave Full of Ghosts’, you have a classic raconteur, sitting in front of you, regailing you of a time and place you will probably never experience in your life. Billy Bob grew up in a small town in Arkansas, where storytelling is a rich tradition. He learned that the South is not like other places, for as a kid, he would sit on the porch listening to his family or some old man down the road spinning yarns about colourful neighbors. These stories didn’t have to be made up. The characters were already there, so the stories just came out of the characters he knew. Thus was borne his Oscar®-winning masterpiece Sling Blade and now The Billy Bob Tapes—a narrative based on late-night conversations with Kinky Friedman and other friends who gathered ’round to hear Billy mine a cave full of ghosts. Billy Bob took a drama class at 16 to ‘meet chicks’ and here he met a Mrs. Treadway, who noticed the young man’s talent and encouraged him as an actor and writer. “You don’t know what it’s like to be a drama teacher in a small town in Arkansas where nobody really cares, but let me tell you something. You can do this.” And he did. He credits his drama teacher with all his successes telling us that “The Everything I’ve accomplished since, I can trace back to this woman, Maudie Treadway.” It would be these stories that would end up in his work and thanks to a comment from director Billy Wilder, whilst he was serving him his hors d’oeuvres, who advised him, “Write about your interesting life,” that would lead him to write with aplomb about the critics, the culture around fame, and the challenges of conveying an artistic vision in film.
And as Angelina says, ‘He has an unmatchable wit and can make you laugh until your face hurts.’