I've seen all kinds of click bait and "top ten movie trivia" lists claiming that Billy Bob Thornton put crushed glass in his shoes during filming the movie Sling Blade to give his character a more authentic look to his shuffle of a walk. It is cited as a case of extreme method acting which is not uncommon. While I don't necessarily disbelieve the claim, I can't find anything from Billy Bob directly claiming this. Its all unofficial trivia lists without a source. So my question is where did this trivia originate and is it true?

1 Answer 1


Yes, according to this MentalFloss article


It gave him Karl’s famous limp.

Also corroborated by Chron (An independent Austin, TX newspaper) in this article

It hurt to play Karl Thornton told James Lipton on "Inside The Actor's Studio" that playing Karl was physically painful. His face had to be contorted and Thornton put broken glass in his shoes to get Karl's tortured walk down

Finally, Esquire in the UK posted the following article

Billy Bob Thornton Thornton took some extreme steps indeed for his role of a partially handicapped man in the sleeper hit Sling Blade. In an effort to maintain the consistency of his character’s memorable shuffle throughout filming Thornton placed real crushed glass inside his shoes, resulting in a painful limp. He was repaid with an Academy Award nomination for his pains. Unlike Lewis though he didn't get the gong - which must have been devastating.

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    Is there anything more concrete than this? The OP refers to "top ten movie trivia" like lists. This list is more credible since its all about the single movie, but its still a one-liner. Any interviews or the like?
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 18:30
  • I have added another source I saw this information in
    – m1gp0z
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 18:37
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    According to the only clip I could find online, which covers all of Sling Blade (James Lipton covers an actor's career in chronological order, so it's unlikely he asked this question earlier or later in the program) there is no mention of crushed glass in Thornton's shoe. youtube.com/watch?v=yv6KFRleUG0 Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 19:10
  • Thanks for making an effort but this doesn't satisfy any direct source to Billy Bob actually saying that he used this method. All the articles mention it without linking to an actual source. The interview with James Lipton mentions that it hurt to play Karl and that he had to contort his face but doesn't mention the broken glass at all.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 0:11
  • Thank you for the feedback, I tried to look for specific input from BBT about the glass but came up empty either way on how the story started
    – m1gp0z
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 15:34

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