By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 18, 2002 10:00 AM

Talk about a working couple: Billy Bob Thornton will play a con man in his new movie, while his wife, Angelina Jolie, is off to northern Thailand this week to begin filming her latest romantic adventure. Variety reports that the Thornton vehicle, to be called “Bad Santa,” is due for release Christmas of next year under the direction of Terry Zwigoff (“Ghost World”). Shooting is slated to begin July 8 stateside, and the story sounds like Frank Capra meets the Coen Brothers (its studio, Miramax, is expecting the film to be rated R, says the trade paper): Two robbers, dressed as Santa and one of his elves, go from mall to mall to pull their stick-ups, until they encounter a youngster who teaches them the true meaning of Christmas. No word on whether Thornton, 46, will play Kris Kringle or an elf. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Jolie, 26, is shooting “Beyond Borders,” a release for this Christmas in which she plays a married American socialite in London who falls in love with an idealistic doctor played by Clive Owen (“Gosford Park”). It is a sweeping love story, covering 10 years in time, with locations that range from Thailand (substituting for Cambodia), Namibia (subbing for Ethiopia), Montreal (as London AND Chechnya), reports the Associated Press. In real life, Jolie is a traveling goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and she and Thornton recently adopted a Cambodian infant.