Billy Bob Thornton makes his return behind the camera in new drama 'Jane Mansfield's Car' - his first since 2001's 'Daddy and Them'.

The film, set in Alabama 1969, depicts the story of a family of brothers, the Caldwell brothers, who are torn apart by the experiences they each received whilst at war. The three Cardwell brothers are World War II veterans, and their father, played by Robert Duvall, is a World War I patriarch. The younger brothers are played by Kevin Bacon, Thornton and Robert Patrick.

Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton makes his directing comback with Jane Mansfield's Car

In an exclusive interview with Crave, Thornton discussed his approach to creating the post war drama, "I think the thing you've got to do in a story is you've got to show who people are, show kind of what their warts are and then get into the story and tell them what it's all about, and learn about the people as you go because in life, that's what we do. We're not handed everything on a platter in life, so that's just kind of the only way I know how to do it, to tell you the truth".

The film's intriguing quality is that the brother's mother dies and her body is brought back to their home, but with it comes her British family, as John Hurt plays her second husband.

This cultural impact sets the dynamics for a British vs America standoff, encountering their different attitudes to the war and post traumatic depression in a small southern town set in the late 60's contains several themes Thornton needs to tackle.

John Hurt
John Hurt stars alongside Billy Bob Thornton In the upcoming drama

The critics are not holding fire about the southern drama as Bill Webber of Slant Magazine states "Billy Bob Thornton's ensemble Southern family dramedy fails to subvert its cutesy formula often enough".

David Noh of Film Journal International equally panned it, "Billy Bob Thornton's return as a screen auteur is anything but a joyous occasion".

The father and eldest actor, Robert Duvall plays Jim Cardwell, and funnily enough he is now being directed by a man who he used to mentor. The 82 year old recently spoke to Reuters discussing what drew him to work with Thornton, "the guy understands the Southern idiom. He understands where he comes from. He's a brilliant guy, not just as an actor, but he's a triple threat guy - a writer, director and actor".

Duvall, whose career has spanned over 7 decades, disagrees with the critics and feels Thornton can produce the goods and as it is his first role as director in 13 years, maybe this film will be one of the pleasant surprises of 2013, or maybe, just this once, the critics are right.

Jane Mansfield's Car is set to hit theatres 13th September 2013.

Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall mentored Thronton for 20 years