When much-loved actor Bill Paxton made his directorial debut in 2001 with the dark psychological thriller Frailty, the project was met with rave reviews. His 2005 follow-up The Greatest Game Ever Played made less of an impact, however, so the news that his next turn at the helm will reunite him with Frailty writer Brent Hanley makes The Bottoms an exciting prospect indeed.
Based on the book by Joe R. Lansdale, The Bottoms tells of a teenage boy who, along with his father and younger sister, discovers the body of a black woman – brutally murdered and left in the bottom of the Sabine River in East Texas. Local townspeople attempt to cover up the crime, until the body of a white woman is discovered in similar circumstances, and racial tensions begin to boil over.
The book won an Edgar Award in 2000 and is part of the impressive bibliography of author Lansdale, which includes Cold In July – recently filmed by director Jim Mickle and showcased at last month’s Sundance Film Festival. That project was produced by fledgling company Paradise City, who approached Bill Paxton to helm The Bottoms.
Announcing the news at the Berlin Film Festival, Nicholas Shumaker of Paradise City spoke to Deadline:
“We are huge fans of Frailty, so we were beyond thrilled to find out that Paxton has wanted this to be his next directorial project for some time. We‘re excited to work with him, and to continue to do our part to bring the works of Joe Lansdale to screens around the world following the success of Cold In July.”
Hoping to begin shooting the project later this year, Texas-born Paxton explained his passion for Lansdale’s work to Deadline:
“I have been a big fan of Joe Lansdale’s writing since the ‘Hap And Leonard’ novels. His stories and characters are vivid, original and indelible. The screenwriter Brent Hanley and I have been looking to team up again since Frailty and, when we read Joe’s book ‘The Bottoms’, we knew we had hit pay dirt. With a story and script this good, we have a chance to make a bonafide classic. I couldn’t be more excited!”
The combination of an excited Bill Paxton, his screenwriter Brent Hanley and the award-winning source material of Joe Lansdale suggests that their film adaptation of The Bottoms could soon rise straight to the top. Or at least, we certainly hope it does.