Billy Bob Thornton Producing ZZ Top Biopic, Sources Say
How how how how will this not be Rocks Off's favorite movie of all time after it comes out? If the rumors coming out of Hollywood and last month's SXSW conference are true, the story of that Lil' Ol' Band from Texas, ZZ Top, is coming to the big screen within the next two years with the help of one of the trio's biggest fans - actor and fellow Texan Billy Bob Thornton.
Craig Hlavaty Billys Gibbons (left) and Bob Thornton at Fitzgerald's, December 2009
According to reports coming from the Thornton camp, namely his production company that is just now readying Willie Nelson documentary The King of Luck for distribution, they have just now optioned the rights for the ZZ Top story for not only a feature film but possibly a documentary not unlike Luck.
Thornton has been a longtime friend of the band, as well as a member of Houston-area ZZ cover band Tres Hombres in the early '80s. Billy Gibbons himself made an appearance at the last Houston appearance by Thornton's band the Boxmasters, at Fitzgerald's in December 2009.
Tentatively titled Rough Boys, the ZZ Top picture seems to be on the fast track to production, with Thornton's only title thus far being Executive Producer. The last word coming out of SXSW was that Austin-based director Robert Rodriguez is eying the script, which scribes just turned in to the Thornton camp.
This would be a perfect gig for Rodriguez, who used ZZ's "She's Just Killing Me" in 1996's From Dusk Til Dawn and prefers to make his movies, including last year's controversial Machete, in and around Austin.
savagesaints.blogspot.com Jimi Hendrix with the Moving Sidewalks
As the creative team gets into gear, Thornton and his fellow producers have already been making some casting decisions, big and small. Rocks Off's sources inside the Thornton camp say that Rough Boys will begin just before the Moving Sidewalks and American Blues morphed into ZZ Top, and run through the group's mid-'80s commercial peak.
Plenty of Texas and international rock and rollers of the day are listed on the pre-production casting sheets.