You may think you know Willie Nelson, but a new documentary called "The King of Luck" promises to show a side of him only those closest to him know. Director Bill Bob Thornton will premiere the film at SXSW Saturday night.
From the movie trailer you can tell this is not your typical, made-for-TV documentary.
Billy Bob Thornton tells KVUE the story of Willie Nelson from the two places any die-hard fan would want to go -- Willie's tour bus and his ranch called "Luck, Texas" outside of Austin. That is where the film, "The King of Luck," got its name.
"Hopefully people will be entertained by it, learn something about Willie, and maybe how people can be so loyal and stick together for so many years,” Thornton said.
Thornton gave KVUE a personal look at the music legend through the eyes of those who know him best -- his blood family and his band "family."
Some of their insight is pretty funny.
"We're like the skid marks in the underwear of life," Willie’s former stage manager James "Poodie" Locke said. "We leave a little spot wherever we go. Sometimes it's good; most times it is. Sometimes it's not.”
Locke, who died shortly after filming wrapped in 2009, first introduced Thornton to Willie some 20 years ago.
Going on tour with the country music legend, you learn a lot about his personality.
"It's not a wild bus contrary to what others may believe,” Thornton said. "He plays Wii Golf on the bus all the time. When he's not doing that, he's texting jokes to everyone around the country."
Thornton did not want to make a "concert" type film, although he says you will see rare jam sessions, archive footage from the 60s, and even how Willie crafts that distinctive sound that is all his own.
"We're in the saloon and he says ‘Check this out,’ and he plays a little bit of it to me. I said, 'You just wrote that?' He said, 'I wrote that yesterday,'” Thornton said. "He just writes them in the moment. He sees something or hears something that interests him, and he writes about it."
Those moments left the greatest impact on Thornton.
"It doesn't matter how good you sound, you have to have a story to back it up. You have to have a song. Songwriting, at the end of the day, is the most important thing,” Thornton said.
"The King of Luck" premieres at the Paramount Theater on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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