Fresh from winning the Best Screenplay Adaptation Oscar for his
film Sling Blade, Billy Bob Thornton returns to his native Arkansas this
week to begin filming Widespread Panic's video for "Aunt Avis." A source at
Capricorn Records, Widespread Panic's label, had not yet seen Thornton's
treatment for the piece, but did confirm that Laura Dern will star in it. The
single, to be released in July just before the band joins the H.O.R.D.E.
festival, will be the third drawn from the album Bombs &
Just how did the band hook up with (now very) famous
writer/director/actor? We're glad you asked, because the connections are enough
to warrant a TV mini-series themselves.
The ties between Widespread Panic
and Thornton began in 1991, when the author directed the band's longform video
Live From The Georgia Theater. Simple enough. Now stick with
Also starring in the "Aunt Avis" video is...
Also starring in the "Aunt Avis" video is
singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt, who wrote the song with Bombs &
Butterflies producer John Keane, and who takes a turn at the microphone
with W.P. singer John Bell.
Diehard Panic fans should already be familiar
with Chesnutt. He joined forces with the band in 1995 under the name Brute to
record the album Nine High A Pallet.
But the ties don't stop there.
Cinema students will remember that Chesnutt has his own Billy Bob Thornton
connection: the director cast him as an on-stage musician in Sling
And just how did Chesnutt score the part? He was suggested to
Thornton by a Mr. Phil Walden, president of Widespread Panic's label,
Capricorn. Thornton, you see, had long been accustomed to asking Walden for
advice: Walden used to manage Thornton.
Back in 1991, it was Walden who
suggested that Thornton direct Widespread Panic's Live From The Georgia
As they say, it's all in who you know.