Billy Bob Thornton’s Willie Nelson documentary to close SXSW


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Billy Bob Thornton’s artistic relationship with Willie Nelson has been a source of drama in the past -- the ‘Sling Blade’ actor-director’s band took a brief hiatus as the opening act for Nelson’s tour in 2009 after Thornton had a spat with a radio host and a band member came down with the flu.

Now Thornton has found a narrative in the country singer’s life -- he directed a documentary about Nelson called ‘The King of Luck,’ which will close the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival on March 19, festival organizers announced Wednesday. Shot in 2009 and 2010 while the two were on tour together, the film is a behind-the-scenes look at Nelson’s road family.


Other films added to the Austin, Texas, festival’s previously announced slate include a work-in-progress screening of the Paul Feig’s comedy ‘Bridesmaids,’ starring and co-written by Kristen Wiig, ‘Hit So Hard,’ a documentary about ‘Hole’ drummer Patty Schemel, ‘Umshini Wam,’ a short film by Harmony Korine featuring South African act Die Antwoord and ‘The Blitzen Trapper Massacre,’ a short film by Rainn Wilson.

Previously announced films screening at SXSW include Jodie Foster’s ‘The Beaver,’ starring Mel Gibson, Greg Mottola’s Comedy ‘Paul,’ starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and ‘Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop,’ a documentary about the TV comedian. The nine-day festival will host 140 features and 153 shorts, opening March 11 with Duncan Jones’ ‘Source Code.’


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--Rebecca Keegan