Billy Bob's Filmography
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Coach Gary Gaines
COACH GAINES: Gentlemen, the hopes and dreams of an entire
town are resting on your shoulders. You may never matter more
than you do right now. It's time.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, which played in theaters to
enthusiastic critical and audience acclaim (as well as solid box
office), is now available on home video. When we went
to get our copy last week, the clerk at Best Buy told us the
title was just flying out the door, and it is tracking to be the
top-selling video in the country.
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist H.G. "Buzz Bissinger" wrote the
non-fiction book Friday Night Lights,
which examines the economically depressed town of Odessa, Texas
and the one thing that the Odessans can truly rally
around: their famous high school football team, the
Permian Panthers. Over the course of one football season,
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS chronicles how Coach Gary Gaines maneuvers
his team of high school players through a challenging--but also
very typical--season of high hopes, low economic expectations,
undue pressure from local boosters, the heartaches that come
with losses and injuries, and a chance at the championship
against the scariest team of monster-sized players
imaginable. The team includes: hotshot running back Boobie
Miles (played by Derek Luke) who is both beautiful and arrogant
on and off the field; Don Billingsley (Garret Hedlund), who
can't seem to please his violent and alcoholic father Charles
(Tim McGraw); and quarterback Mike Winchell (Lucas Black),
struggling to balance his schoolwork and playing career with
caring for his sick mother.
What Billy Bob Gets To Do
Not counting his stint as a fictionalized
James Carville in PRIMARY COLORS,
this is Billy Bob's first film in which he plays a real-life
figure who is still alive. He plays Coach Gary Gaines, a
man whose stewardship of the team puts him in the hot seat with
the larger community. In short, he gets to get his mojo
Lucas Black Gets To Do
Lucas Black (SLING BLADE's
little Frank) is now 20 years old and plays the Panthers'
the looks of the trailer, our li'l Frank is all grown up and
gets his first love scene! Makes ya get kinda teary-eyed,
Bob is directed by Peter Berg, his costar
in GOING OVERBOARD.
Along with Lucas Black, the
team lineup for the film includes Tim McGraw (in his movie
debut), Derek Luke (who never played football before signing on
for this film), Jay
Kevin Page (Micajah Autrey from THE ALAMO
and one of the four bearers of the famous Alamo
flag tattoo), and various real-life figures from the Permian
Panthers' storied past (the real Boobie Miles is seen standing
next to Derek Luke in several scenes).
preparing for the film, director Peter Berg witnessed a
tragedy. A player at a high school game Berg was attending
was injured and left paralyzed by his injuries. Berg,
Billy Bob, and Tim McGraw joined forces to play a fundraising
concert for the Gridiron Heroes, a group dedicated to helping
out school football players who have suffered spinal cord
injuries. Ever the troopers, Billy Bob and Tim McGraw kept
the show going in Austin (with a surprise appearance by Alice
despite a massive downpour in freezing weather. (Thanks to
Toby Keith for allowing Billy Bob's staff to take shelter in his
The webmasters paid a visit to Permian Basin in
Odessa to watch an exciting night shoot at Ratliff
Stadium. We got to see scrimmage à go-go, with the rival
high school Midland Lee's outstanding marching band (they went
to the Rose Parade in 2004), cheerleaders, mascots, and the
pre-game coin flip. Although Billy Bob was suffering from
a killer migraine that evening, he rallied enough to shoot his
scenes and toss a football with Jay Hernandez on the
sidelines. Billy Bob told us that one of the more amusing
things he'd witnessed on the set was the Permian mascot--a gal
in a blank panther costume--in full black cat regalia trying to
tell Peter Berg how to frame a shot while he sat at his
monitor. "Even the panther wants to direct,"
Billy Bob grinned.
the real-life Gary Gaines has returned to Odessa to serve as the
athletic director of the county school district. At a
special event in Odessa to celebrate the home video release of
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, Peter Berg got to meet Coach Gaines in
person for the first time.
note: Peter Berg and Buzz Bissinger are cousins!
celebrate the release of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, the Hollywood
Chamber of Commerce awarded Billy Bob with his star on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame.
(for FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS)
USC Scriptor Award (Peter
Berg, Buzz Bissinger, David Aaron Cohen for screeplay) - 2005 -Nomination
ESPY Award - Best Film - 2005 - Winner
Permian High School site--go Mojo! Cute little running
Actress Terri Sabol's great site
from the sidelines!
Odessa Permian High football
USA Today article on Ratliff
Here's a handy blog
documenting the filming
Want to help the Gridiron Heroes help
others? Click here!
Tim McGraw's Official Site
Willis' on-set photos, and she debunks a bit of press
nonsense about BBT.
No doubt, you can score (oh yeah, pun intended) all sorts of
Permian Panthers shirts and whatnot when visiting Odessa.
Otherwise, there's Buzz Bissinger's book.