Billy Bob Thornton in the ring for boxing movie

Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:06am EDT
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By Steven Zeitchik

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Million Dollar Billy Bob? Billy Bob Thornton is attached to star in "Pound for Pound," a boxing drama based on a novel by F.X. Toole, the author of the book that was the source for "Million Dollar Baby."

Ron Shelton will write and direct the indie film.

The project centers on the parallel lives of a retired, widowed boxer who's beset by depression after his grandson is killed in a car accident and an up-and-coming teenage Latino fighter from a difficult background. The lives of the two intersect in unexpected ways.

Toole was the pen name for the late boxing cutman Jerry Boyd. Two years after he died, the stories in his collection "Rope Burns" became the basis for the Clint Eastwood/Paul Haggis drama "Million Dollar Baby." The 2004 movie earned $207 million worldwide, was nominated for seven Oscars and won four, including best picture.

"Pound' was published two years later, the manuscript shaped by Toole's agent, Nat Sobel, and a freelance editor.

Among Thornton's upcoming projects is the baseball drama "Three Nights in August," which he will produce and star in.

Shelton also plans to direct "Q School," a golf comedy he wrote that Tim Allen and Dennis Quaid are eyeing for starring roles. The movie takes the director, known for a range of sports-themed movies such as "Bull Durham" and "White Men Can't Jump," back into the ring for the first time since "Play It to the Bone," a Las Vegas-set boxing picture he wrote and directed which starred Antonio Banderas and Woody Harrelson.

(Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters)

<p>Cast member Billy Bob Thornton attends the premiere of the movie "Eagle Eye" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California September 16, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>