HE MAY LOVE the smell of napalm in the morning, but Robert Duvall also has a certain affection for Texas. Over the years, some of his best-known films have been made here, including Tender Mercies (1983) and Lonesome Dove (1989). Now the 67-year-old has returned to the state again for a film he wrote, executive produced, and directed. The Apostle, set for release on January 30, tells the story of a Pentecostal preacher who flees the Dallas area after committing a crime of passion and resurfaces in a Lousiana town, where he seeks redemption by preaching under the name “the Apostle.” Scenes in the film, which stars Duvall as the preacher, Farrah Fawcett as his wife, and Miranda Richardson as a secretary he romances, were shot in Dallas, Denton, and Collin counties. Duvall says he’s been thinking about the project for years, ever since he visited tiny Hughes, Arkansas, and became fascinated by the preaching in a small church there. “I’d never seen anything like that before, so I decided that someday I wanted to do something like it,” he says. “I didn’t know when or how, but I wanted to play one of these guys.” Writing a script was tough—he’s only done it once before—and so was directing, which “petrified him.” But something else was even more daunting. “The hardest part,” he says, “was raising the money.”