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Next project in this La La land twangster's crosshairs is "South of Heaven, West of Hell", his screenwriting/directorial film debut that features his actor pals Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Reubens, Peter Fonda and Peter's daughter Bridget. A baroque western that is more gothic noir than tumbleweed typical, Yoakam has been ruminating its story for five years. With a little help from Billy Bob Thornton, Yoakam co-wrote the screenplay.

"It was the most draining and simultaneously exhilarating experience of my life. As a writer, it's served as my single greatest source of education to date, one remarkably interesting journey." Yoakam told Country Music magazine.

And his co-star is his current girlfriend Bridget Fonda.

"It's true--we've been dating for the past few months," Yoakam continues. "We've known each other over the years as friends, so you just never know with someone you're friends with, once you introduce the romantic involvement to a previously platonic friendship, what will fall from that. And hopefully it won't lead to the deterioration of the friendship. And it hasn't, so I'm not really worried in terms of that. But yes, we're dating. And she's genuinely...well all the things that you see in her work and otherwise, she eclipses in terms of earnestness and honesty."

Yoakam has been dipping his pointy toed boot into the acting waters for years, with bit parts in "The Newton Boys", "When Trumpets Fade" and a few other films. But Yoakam scored a bullseye hit with critics and audiences with his role as the redneck from hell boyfriend Doyle Hargraves in Thornton's Oscar winning "Sling Blade". That role earned him a Screen Actors Guild best actor nomination and pushed him to write his screenplay.

"I was there in the beginning when Dwight first originated this movie," says Billy Bob Thornton. "It was such a pleasure to be there and to be a part of making 'South Of Heaven, West Of Hell'. I am really proud of him. It was like working with my brother."



Filming has just wrapped on the flick, in between albums, tours and Yoakam's burgeoning Bakersfield Biscuit business that is. Company motto: "Just heat 'em and eat 'em."

Currently on tour with a greatest hits package "Last Chance For A Thousand Years" and coming off a hit single - Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" that doubled as a Gap commercial soundtrack - Yoakam has recently released a book of lyrics than spans twelve years called "A Long Way Home".

But regardless of how mainstream Yoakam's media may be, he remains ever the outsider in terms of trends and geography, choosing to live and work in Los Angeles rather than Nashville. This different drummer beats loud for an artist who has said: "What's that saying? God takes care of drunks and those that don't know any better. You just allow yourself to be guided by your inner voice. I really, really, really can't concern myself with whether the climate for what I'm doing is right, or that I should just adjust to the climate. I've never looked outside to see if I should take an umbrella or not."

by Sandra Schulman



Yoakam Film
South of Heaven, West of Hell

--release date unscheduled. Watch for it!

Last Chance for a Thousand Years:
Greatest Hits from the 90's

(5/18/99), Warner Brothers / Issue 1 - September 2018
Turnpage Blk

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