Making a movie about a famous writer is a difficult undertaking for many reasons. But James Ponsoldt somehow managed to avoid most of the pitfalls as such with “The End of the Tour,” last year’s winsome, loving ode to David Foster Wallace. Similarly, Bennett Miller erected a commendable testament to Truman Capote back in 2005 with his Philip Seymour Hoffman-starring biopic. There’s something to said for films like 2010’s noble but erratic “Howl,” which starred James Franco as beat poet Allen Ginsberg, as well as the two big-screen Hunter Thompson adaptations, 1980’s “Where the Buffalo Roam” and 1998’s “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas,” both of which indulge in the author’s penchant for overkill.
So a movie about Ernest Hemingway is going to spark at least a flash of intrigue in any bibliophile. On the basis of its first trailer, that’s more or less exactly what “Papa: Hemingway in Cuba” looks to do. Like Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” Bob Yari’s film will focus on one watershed period in this famous man’s life: the Cuban years.
Adrian Sparks certainly looks the part as Hemingway, and it will be interesting at the very least to see if he can really nail the author’s signature bravado. Former journalist/war correspondent Denne Bart Petitclerc penned the movie’s screenplay back in 2006 (Petitclerc died from results of his lung cancer while the film was still in production), and director Bob Yari helms his second movie since 1989’s “Mind Games” (remember that?), which apparently is the first non-Cuban film to be shot in Cuba since the ’50s. Here’s the official synopsis:
Directed by the Producer of the Academy Awarding Winner “Crash and “The Illusionist”, “Papa Hemingway In Cuba” is a true story about the relationship between Miami journalist Denne Bart Petitclerc (Giovanni Ribisi) and legendary writer Ernest Hemingway (Adrian Sparks). Set during the Cuban revolution, the film co-stars Joely Richardson and Minka Kelly with a cameo by Hemingway’s granddaughter, Mariel Hemingway. “PAPA: Hemingway In Cuba” was shot on location in Havana and inside Hemingway’s estate, Finca Vigia. It is the first Hollywood film to be shot in Cuba since 1959.”
Check out the trailer below. “Papa: Hemingway in Cuba” opens in theaters on April 29th.