Billy Bob Thornton

Billy Bob Thornton, the beating heart beneath the positively profane 'Bad Santa 2'

Billy Bob Thornton, the beating heart beneath the positively profane 'Bad Santa 2'

You shouldn’t care about Billy Bob Thornton’s opinion. Not because he doesn’t have one, but because the actor isn’t sure what makes his thoughts any more significant than the next guy’s. Thornton, 61, tends to underestimate himself, though. In fact, he’s made a career of playing underestimated men and they’re always more than what they seem at the outset. If you ask him to reflect back and glance over his film career, which launched in the mid-’80s with a bit part on “Matlock,” that’s exactly what he sees as the through-line.

“I like playing people who on the surface look like one thing but on the inside they...

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