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The Bad News Bears - Preview



Preview by: Jack Foley

THE Bad News Bears may be a remake, but it probably rates among the most keenly-anticipated 'cover versions' in recent movie history for a number of reasons.

First and foremost is the chance to see Billy Bob Thornton delivering another deeply disinterested turn as the alcoholic coach of a team of little-leaguers.

While secondly, the film is directed by Richard Linklater, the hard-working but deeply talented man behind such recent mainstream and indie classics as School of Rock and Before Sunset and Before Sunrise.

And third, but by no means least, is the news that The Bad News Bears has been written by none other than Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the brains behind Terry Zwigoff's unforgettable Billy Bob Thornton starrer, Bad Santa.

The original Bad News Bears first appeared in 1976 and starred Walter Matthau as the grouchy coach. It spawned a trilogy.

The remake features Thornton along with the likes of Greg Kinnear and Marcia Gay Harden.

Thornton will star as Morris Buttermaker, an ex-pro baseball player, who was thrown out of the game for attacking an umpire.

Now working as an exterminator, and more interested in women and boozing than baseball, Buttermaker is lured back into the game by Liz Whitewood, an attorney whose class action suit has forced the Little League to accept all players, regardless of their abilities.

Not every cloud has a silver lining, however, as Buttermaker finds himself coaching the Bears, the most losing team in Little League history.

Initially only in it for the money, it isn't long before his inept young charges have a transformative effect on him that transforms the fortunes of everyone involved.

If the role doesn't sound that much of a stretch from Thornton's Bad Santa persona, it's worth pointing out that this is no bad thing.

Thornton was a riot as the foul-mouthed, hard-drinking shopping mall Santa, and promises a similarly winning turn in Bad News Bears - if the funny trailer is anything to go by.

What's more, he's working with another top director and should have another saccharine-free script to work from.

Fans worried about Thornton's on-screen attitutde to kids, however, will do well to remember the actor's real attitude towards them - as revealed during a London interview for Bad Santa, during which he talked about his own child.

"With Bella, my daughter, I have a certain calm about me. When she cries, Connie freaks out and I'm like, 'don't worry, it's just gas, she'll be over it in a minute'.

"It's amazing how kids can give you peace. It's like animal lovers. Some animal lovers can hold a dog and their blood pressure will go down.

"For me, it's the same with kids. I get home at night, I'm stressed out ­ in my life there's always some nightmare to deal with ­ so I get home, sit in the rocking chair, start watching the baseball game and have the baby there, and it totally puts me in a different place. So it's pretty cool."

Bad News Bears is released in the UK on August 26.

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