17 April 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Billy Bob Thornton will star in the indie feature Chrystal, which will mark the big-screen directorial debut of Oscar-winning short filmmaker Ray McKinnon. McKinnon's wife, Lisa Blount, who shared the Oscar with her husband, will star in the title role. McKinnon wrote, directed and starred in the short film The Accountant, with Blount co-starring and executive producing. Chrystal is the husband-and-wife team's follow-up project. Chrystal, produced by Bruce Heller, David Koplan and Blount, goes into production May 28 in Arkansas. The project, written by McKinnon, sees Blount star as the title character, a rural woman whose convict husband (Thornton) returns home from prison only to see that the vacancy in her life left by the death of her child years earlier becomes even more acute. Walton Goggins (The Shield) also stars. As an actor, McKinnon has appeared in such films as O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Apollo 13. Blount, repped by McCabe/Justice and manager Darris Hatch, most recently starred in the WB Network pilot Trash. She also starred in the Tom DiCillo feature Box of Moonlight. Thornton, repped by CAA, is shooting the Walt Disney Co.'s The Alamo. Upcoming projects include Intolerable Cruelty and Bad Santa.

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