Tommy Lee Jones’ latest directorial effort, The Homesman, is a moving portrait of the harsh unpredictability of pioneer life in the mid-19th century American West told from the viewpoint of a resilient, resourceful woman. The harrowing tale is based on Glendon Swarthout’s award-winning novel about Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank), an intrepid frontierswoman who convinces a low-life drifter (Jones) to accompany her on an arduous journey transporting three ill women across the Nebraska Territories to Iowa. Opening November 14th, the film features an impressive supporting cast that includes John Lithgow, Hailee Steinfeld, James Spader and Meryl Streep.
At the film’s recent press day, Jones and Swank spoke about playing characters with so many layers of emotions, how they captured the authenticity of an era, why the film is not just a period piece but also parallels everyday life for a lot of people, the qualities of strength, vulnerability and relatability that Mary Bee possessed which appealed to Swank, working with Jones as both an actor and a director and the shorthand they developed on set, how Jones’ experience as an actor informs his work as a writer and director, Swanks’ singing scenes, and shooting on location in New Mexico and Georgia. Check out our interview after the jump.