The film was set to adapt Joe R. Lansdale’s same-named novel.
Primarily known as an actor, Bill Paxton also made his mark as a pretty damn good filmmaker. He made his feature debut with 2001’s Frailty, which he also starred in; if it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, we strongly encourage you to make some time real soon to revisit. Paxton, at the time of his death, was prepping another horror film that will sadly never see the light of day.
Entertainment Weekly just wrote a piece about the project, sharing quotes Paxton provided to them in 2015. The film was penned by Frailty scribe Brent Hanley, and Paxton was to direct.
I got a great script called The Bottoms. It’s written by Brent Hanley [the screenwriter of Frailty]. It’s adapted from a great book by Joe Lansdale. He’s one of the great American writers, coming out of a Southern Gothic tradition. I’ve been involved with him now for six years developing The Bottoms. I brought Brent Hanley to the party because I knew it was right in Brent’s wheelhouse. He’s another Texas writer who really knows his noir stuff. I’m just a huge champion of Joe Lansdale’s and he’s been very loyal to me, because its really taken us a long time to put The Bottoms together. It’s about the best script I’ve ever had my hands on in terms of a real regional thriller, and a follow-up from the writer and director of Frailty.
I’m sure that if I can just make that movie, and make it well, with a good cast, at a decent budget, it is a bona fide classic.
Lansdale’s book, published in 2000, “takes place during the Great Depression in East Texas. Young Harry Crane discovers the mutilated body of a black woman that sets off a mystery involving rising violence and racism. Despite the efforts of law enforcement, the killing continues. Harry and his younger sister, Thomasina, fix their suspicions on a local horror legend, The Goat Man, who lives deep in the Big Thicket. Together they set out to solve the mystery of who the real killer is.”
How awesome would this have been? If Frailty was any indication, pretty awesome.