It used to be that people thought of Clint Eastwood (and before that, John Ford) when they thought of American westerns. Nowadays though, maybe we think of Tommy Lee Jones. The gnarled and folksy actor has been a staple in various westerns for the better part of several decades, even adding directing to his arsenal with The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Now, he’ll return to the genre as both the director and star of The Homesman.
The first trailer for the film dropped today and it showcases Jones’s performance as a man who owes a serious debt of gratitude to Hilary Swank after she saves him from a hanging. Her price for saving his life? He now has to help her bring three mentally unstable women from Nebraska to Iowa. It won’t be easy though, as they’ll face terrible dangers along the way, including angry Native Americans, an unforgiving landscape, and Tim Blake Nelson.
Based on what the trailer shows, The Homesman should be an impressive film. As with many contemporary westerns, it makes use of the bleakness of the landscape and the inherent dangers of simply walking out your front door to add to the sense of foreboding as the journey begins. Add to that the necessity of helping several women who may not be all there, and Jones’s character really has his work cut out for him. If there’s any man up to the task of braving the wilderness with four women in tow and bringing everyone out of it alive though, that man is Tommy Lee Jones.
The cast surrounding Jones is equally impressive. In addition to Swank and Tim Blake Nelson, we have parts for Meryl Streep, Hailee Steinfeld and James Spader. If Jones has equalled what he did with The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Homesman will help to revivify the western.
You can watch the first (French) trailer for The Homesman below. The film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, and hopefully catch a U.S. distributor from there.
Source: The Film Stage