SLING BLADE star Billy Bob Thornton decided to become an actor after a rooftop beer binge.

The Hollywood actor, a native of Arkansas, originally wanted to pursue a career as a baseball player - until his longtime pal stepped in with a suggestion.

He says, "One day I was on my roof drinking beer with my friend TOM EFFERSON and he said, 'What do you say we go to New York? You were in drama in high school and I wanna be a screenwriter, so let's go to New York.'

"We came to New York and stayed 10 hours. (We) went back to Arkansas for a couple of years and then we finally went to California.

"I got into a theatre group and started doing plays and that's where people saw me. As a matter of fact, the character from Sling Blade was something that I used to do back in the mid-80s in the theatre group."

13/01/2004 02:07