Billy Bob Thornton is preparing to break rules yet again, after signing up to play a dissatisfied former employee of US space agency NASA.

Thornton, who recently played a foul-mouthed Father Christmas in Bad Santa and grizzly little league baseball coach in Bad News Bears, will now star in satirical comedy ASTRONAUT FARMER, about an astronaut who gives up his job to save his family farm.

And, because he can't shake his space travel dreams, he embarks on plans to build his own rocket, ignoring threats from the government.

The movie is scheduled to begin production in New Mexico early next month (SEP05).