New book tells story of Arkansans in Hollywood

Hot Springs native Billy Bob Thornton (left) sits by Lucas Black in a scene from the 1996 film Slingblade.


A new book published by the University of Arkansas Press chronicles the roles played by Arkansas and Arkansans in Hollywood’s film industry.

The book, titled Lights! Camera! Arkansas: From Broncho Billy to Billy Bob Thornton, is written by UA professors Robert Cochran and Suzanne McCray.

It traces movie stars, from Broncho Billy Anderson, the first star of the Western film genre, to Billy Bob Thornton, Mary Steenburgen, and others. The book also examines movies which are set or filmed in Arkansas, or that have other Arkansas connections.

From a news release:

While the connections between Arkansas and Hollywood may not be obvious, Cochran and McCray write that Arkansans have played “Huck Finn innocents and homicidal sociopaths, noir detectives and cowboy gunslingers, and bathing beauties menaced by prehistoric creatures. The story of the Natural Sate’s role in the nation’s film entertainment mecca is a tangled, compelling tale full of surprises. Recent years have been spectacularly fruitful, but Arkansas has been from territorial times a place of mythic resonance, and Hollywood was sure to come calling.”

» Buy it now from the University of Arkansas Press