Funny that with a cast that already includes the likes of Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, John Lithgow, and Tim Blake Nelson, it took adding Hailee Steinfeld to really set the tone for this project. Jones’ self-directed “The Homesman,” about an outlaw (Jones again) who teams up with a school-teacher (Swank) to escort three mentally unstable women from Nebraska to Iowa during the pioneer era, is suddenly reminding us of “True Grit” in a lot of ways — the similar time period, the on-the-road premise, the volatile traveling companions — and we like it.
Deadline reports that Steinfeld will play a poor, barefooted teenager named Tabitha Hutchinson. We haven’t seen the actress since her performance in “True Grit,” but it’s not because she hasn’t been working — she has “Ender’s Game” coming this November, as well as “Romeo and Juliet” and dramedies “Can A Song Save Your Life?” and “Hateship, Loveship” all in post-production. Get ready for a serious resurgence from this young Oscar nominee.
Meanwhile, James Spader must have enjoyed Tommy Lee’s spirited charisma on the set of “Lincoln” as much as Streep did on “Hope Springs,” because he has also signed on to play alongside Jones once again, this time as some sort of swindler. Additionally, Danish actor David Dencik (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “War Horse”) will play the sexually brutish husband of one of the mentally ill women.
These sound like a few great additions to an already sterling cast, and Jones doesn’t seem like a man to crumble under pressure, so for now, we’ll keep getting our hopes up.