October 03, 2014 (USA)
Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones (script), Glendon Swarthout (novel)
Luc Besson, Peter Brant, Tommy Lee Jones...
When three women are driven insane on the edges of the American frontier, the task of delivering them back east falls to
Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank). The challenge of driving a wagon loaded with madwomen four hundred miles compels the pious
spinster to employ a partner - drifting low-life George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones). Together, they head out across the
prairie, re-traversing the harsh Nebraska Territories in a journey marked by stark beauty and constant threat. Their
destination is a Church in Iowa where a minister’s wife (Meryl Streep) waits to relieve them of the lost souls in their
Cast & Characters
Tommy Lee Jones (George Briggs), Hilary Swank (Mary Bee Cuddy), Grace Gummer (Arabella Sours), Miranda Otto (Theoline
Belknapp), Sonja Richter (Gro Svendsen), David Dencik (Thor Svendsen), John Lithgow (Reverend Dowd), Tim Blake Nelson
(The Freighter), James Spader (Aloysius Duffy), William Fichtner (Vester Belknap), Jesse Plemons (Garn Sours), Evan
Jones (Bob Giffin), Hailee Steinfeld (Tabitha Hutchinson), Meryl Streep (Altha Carter)
The script by Tommy Lee Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley A. Oliver is based on the novel, "The Homesman" written by
Glendon Swarthout and published in 1988. A number of Mr. Swarthout’s books have been adapted for the screen including
"The Shootist", starring John Wayne; "Bless the Beasts & The Children" and "Where the Boys Are".
"It's the story of three women who are transported in a wagon across Nebraska in 1854, because they have been driven
pretty much insane by the hardships of life on the American frontier", says director, producer and actor Tommy Lee Jones.
"When I completed the script, my vision of the film was minimalist because there are not a lot of visual details to show
it’s Nebraska and the Northern part of the West. Now, I’m certainly impressed by North Eastern New Mexico, where we shot
the movie, because it stands in very well for Nebraska. For me, the landscape itself is a very important character in our
movie." "The Homesman" shot for 42 days, primarily on two ranches north and east of Las Vegas, New Mexico (not to be
confused with the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, Nevada). That area of eastern New Mexico is part of the Great Plains as
was the Nebraska Territory where the story is set. The current drought in eastern New Mexico means that a good deal of
the land cannot support the same quantity of cattle as was possible 10 years ago. The ungrazed pastures provided the
backdrop of tall grass blowing in the relentless wind. The weather proved a constant challenge and in many cases a true
cinematic beauty. The harsh wind and swirling dust that accompanies George Briggs’ approach to Mary Bee’s house is not
generated by giant fans, but is genuinely New Mexico. Snow was created on a few occasions, but the production team was
also gifted with unexpected storms in spring.
Meryl Streep needs no praise; she’s got plenty of it. She’s one of the finest movie actors in the history of cinema, and
I’m very happy to call her a friend, because to be a friend of hers is another total joy. (Tommy Lee Jones, Production Notes)
Screenwriter Wes Oliver recalled the early development of "The Homesman", when both Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep were
shooting "Hope Springs": "They were shooting in Connecticut and we spent time with Tommy on the set. In between their
scenes, we would work on The Homesman. Tommy would do a scene with Meryl, come across the street, work with us, go back
across the street and jump a hundred and fifty years forward in time back into a romantic comedy. It was a remarkable
achievement on his part to be able to do that. I was very impressed. And it was also helpful for us because it I think
energized our writing process. We were surrounded by a film crew, and by the excitement of a film already in production."
The sod houses, Mary Bee’s house, the Church in Loup and The Fairfield Hotel were all built created by Production
Designer Merideth Boswell and her amazing Art Dept, Construction Dept and Set Design team - under difficult weather
and budget conditions. The houses and Church are still standing on one of the location ranches. The Fairfield Hotel burned
until dawn until all that remained were 4 tree trunks that formed the four corners of the construction. The destination
of Hebron, Iowa was filmed for one week at a reconstructed 1850s town called Westville in the town of Lumpkin, Georgia.
"The Homesman" had its world-premiere at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and was theatrically released in French cinemas in
May 2014. The American theatrical release is set for October 2014.