I can’t think of a current actor more suited to playing Ernest Hemingway, or a thinly veiled Hemingway stand-in, than Tommy Lee Jones. So I perked up at the news of Jones adapting, directing, producing and starring in Islands in the Stream. So what if that’s a better Kenny Rogers song than Hemingway novel? The last time TLD directed we got the sublime The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. That’s pure cred.
The novel follows the life of reclusive painter Thomas Hudson in stages, focusing on points in his life in the Bahamas before, during and after World War II. Islands was the first of Hemingway’s many shelved works to be published posthumously. It currently exists in three sections, though a fourth was actually published during Hemingway’s lifetime as perennial freshman English assignment The Old Man and the Sea.
Jones co-wrote the script with Bill Witliff. The pic will start sales efforts in cannes on Sunday; the estimated $30M production will shoot in Puerto Rico next year.
But first you’ll see Jones in an adaptation of James Lee Burke’s Into The Electric Mist. I’m excited now for that one as I was a year ago. Jones directed by Bertrand Tavernier, plus John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard, Kelly Macdonald, Ned Beatty, John Sayles and Buddy Guy? Goddamn, it better be good.