HOLLYWOOD — At the premiere of his new film, “Friday Night Lights,” Billy Bob Thornton said the only thing more intimidating than the bright lights on a football field were those on the red carpet.
“When you get out of the car and the photographers start yelling your name, it’s something you never get used to,” he said. “I have always been embarrassed and uncomfortable at these kinds of things.” But Thornton didn’t let the flashbulbs stop him from promoting a movie he said he is proud to be a part of. “It’s not just a sports movie,” he explained. “It is a movie about our hopes and dreams.”
In the film, Thornton plays a high school football coach in the small town of Odessa, Texas, where the community is deeply obsessed with the sport. He is joined by country singer Tim McGraw who makes his acting debut playing the bullying father of one of the players (see “‘Friday Night Lights’: A Story About The Land Where Football Is God” ).
Thornton arrived Wednesday night at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with his girlfriend, Connie Angland. The couple, who just had a baby girl two weeks ago, said it wasn’t easy leaving little Bella at home. “You get hooked on the little rascals,” Thornton said.
The Hollywood High School marching band and a group of dancing cheerleaders welcomed the cast, which also included McGraw, Jay Hernandez and Garrett Hedlund as well as moviegoers Lauren Graham, Serena Williams and David Duchovny.
McGraw, who arrived hand in hand with wife Faith Hill, had another reason to celebrate. “It’s our eight-year anniversary,” said McGraw. Hill, who recently had her acting debut in the “Stepford Wives,” said the couple had spent the day relaxing by the pool before the big premiere. “We had one of the most phenomenal days that we have had in a long time,” she said.
Although McGraw and Hill have shared many concert stages, they say they hope to work together one day in a movie. McGraw joked about the type of roles they were looking for. “We want to fight each other in one of those karate movies where you hang in the air for like 10 seconds,” he said.
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