I have always been a big fan of Billy Bob Thornton. “Sling Blade” showed his amazing talent as a writer, director and actor. “Armageddon” was another film he starred in that became a mega hit with the viewers. It’s almost as if he’s not acting—he’s a natural for whatever role he portrays. I finally got a chance to meet him in person for an interview in
Atlanta about his upcoming film, “The Astronaut Farmer.”
His flight had been slightly delayed from Miami to
Atlanta on the day I was scheduled to meet him. I waited and wondered just like the others at the round table what he would be like in real life. Did he have a pleasant personality? Or would he be quiet and reserved? It didn’t take long to find out after he entered the room.
Thornton stepped inside and sat down with a big grin on his face. He said he was in a good mood because the Colts had just won the Superbowl game against the Bears. He had been in the stands to watch it first hand.
I knew the weather hadn’t been very accommodating to the crowds on that day so I asked him if he had gotten a tad bit wet during the game. After that I asked him how he managed to maneuver around in the astronaut suit he wore while filming “The Astronaut Farmer.” That’s how the interview began.
Billy Bob Thornton: I’m real happy today because the Colts won last night. That was amazing. I was there–incredible.
Question: It rained on you didn’t it for a little bit?
Billy Bob Thornton: It rained on me for about a quarter-and-a-half. Then a friend of mine who was up in a guy’s box from
Miami–I called him, I said, ‘Man, it’s really raining down here.’ He said, ‘Come up, don’t be an idiot.’ So I went on up there.
Question: There was a comment from someone in the group: You should have called earlier.
I know. I wish we had of. We ended up having a great time up there. We got to see the whole second half from in the box. And I don’t like to go in boxes usually because I am a big baseball fan. They are always putting me up in a box. Baseball, you seem really separated from the game when you are in a box. Football, you can still see pretty well. You still feel like you are still in the game. It wasn’t bad, you know, it’s a hell of a lot better than sitting out there in the rain.
Well I’m curious about your astronaut suit. Was it hard getting on that horse?
It was hard doing everything. That suit is really not the most comfortable thing in the world. It takes a long time to get in it. You don’t just unzip it like coveralls and slip in it. You have to like put this arm in first, and then, your head goes through this metal ring, and then, one leg here and there. It’s just kind of weird you have to twist yourself up pretty much to get in it. Once you are in it, it’s very hot. Real astronauts have a cooling system in there, you know. I didn’t have that. So it was pretty hot. Once you get in the capsule, it doubles that effect, and I’m pretty claustrophobic to start with. So you are in a tiny little capsule, basically, and then you put the thing down, you start thinking you are going to die in there. They are going to forget you are in there, or something, you know.
What was it like playing Charlie Farmer?
Well, I had an amazing time doing it. This is the kind of role I always wanted to play. I’ve played guys that are kind of like this, but in different sorts of movies. This is sort of a family film. This is like for all ages. I’ve played guys from