Jayne Mansfield’s Car has been “parked”: The US drama directed by the Hollywood bad boy Billy Bob Thornton and produced by the Russian film guru Aleksandr Rodnyansky, has finished shooting in America.
Set in 1969 in the Southern United States, the psychological drama revolves around eight characters – two families, one British and the other American.
A high level of professionalism and efficiency has enabled its creators to shoot the 120-minute film in only 30 days.
“We often suspect an America of pragmatism, materialism and utilitarian approach to cinema. Paradoxically enough, it’s just the opposite. While we, in our country, have been recently talking about nothing but business in film, they [in America] are now living through what we experienced back in the 1970s-80s. They talk about a film, its characters, plot twists and intonation of the storyline. And they discuss in every detail how exactly to create, to shoot, to dress, to turn, to play in it,” Rodnyansky told RIA Novosti news agency, adding that he is not sure though whether the entire US film machine is like that or just Jayne Mansfield’s Car.
“The film was prepared in the director’s head in minor detail. He [Thornton] wasn’t running about the set, hesitating and looking for other variants as it often happens in our country. Everything was already explained in the script which was precise to the point” Rodnyansky explained.
He also told RIA news that Thornton’s direction reanimated the traditions of the classic American cinema which can, in an honest and entertaining manner, narrate about people with their problems, lifestyles, unhappy families, failed romantic relationships and generation gaps.
It is the first Hollywood project for Rodnyansky, who is funding the drama from the cutting-edge star of Bad Santa and Monster’s Ball, Thornton. Rodnyansky made his name as the founder of the Ukrainian TV channel 1+1 and a chief executive of the CTC Media, the Nasdaq-listed leading Russian independent media player. Rodnyansky, who stepped down as CTC Media CEO in 2009, has produced several dozen TV series and 30 feature films. Among his latest film projects is Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Elena, which picked up a Special Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
The Russian producer was quoted as saying that the actors engaged in Jayne Mansfield’s Car minimized their fees so much they liked the script and wanted to be part of it literally “at any cost”.
Rodnyansky, in his turn, said that he took after Jayne Mansfield’s Car right after he read the script written by Billy Bob, praised for his talent as a storyteller, with his close friend Tom Epperson – together they wrote a story about people they know backwards, from the provincial South.
“When I read that script, I fell in love with it. I was a fan of Sling Blade and Billy Bob’s other movies. No matter where you are making movies, it’s all about the script,” the Russian producer told Deadline.com.
Jayne Mansfield’s Car brings the spotlight on The Godfather’s “consiglieri”, veteran actor and Academy Award winner, Robert Duvall, Far From Heaven’s Dennis Quaid, as well as on the actor-turned-director himself, Billy Bob Thornton, among others.
It is not the first time Thornton will be sitting in the director’s chair, Jayne Mansfield’s Car will be his fourth directorial experience. Back in 1996, he made his debut drama Sling Blade, about a handicapped man released from a mental hospital. The film, starring Thornton, and based on the play written by him, brought him an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.