Tommy Lee Jones gets a first: Will direct Meryl Streep and daughter Grace Gummer


Oscar winner and oft-nominee Tommy Lee Jones is a brave man. He’s going to direct both Meryl Streep and her daughter, Grace Gummer, in “The Homesman” this spring. Streep – well, you know. Grace and her sister, Mamie, are Streep’s two current actor children. Each of them is carving out excellent careers. Grace was in “Larry Crowne,” appeared in 18 episodes of the TV series “Gigantic,” and will be in the wonderful “Frances Ha” in May, with Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner. She’s also done a ton of theater including the 2011 Broadway production of “Arcadia.”

Meryl and Grace will be joined in “The Homesman”– it’s title of a novel– by Hilary Swank, Mirando Otto, and Tim Blake Nelson. How do I know all this? Why, I ran into Tommy Lee Jones during the Oscars in the new Dolby Bar. We had quite a lively chat. Of course, he’d just lost to Christoph Waltz for best supporting actor after his brilliant turn in “Lincoln.” TLJ had just about had enough, I think, and was ready for some refreshment.

What was he up to next, I wondered? “Horses, and the fresh air. I guess they’re going to call this movie a western, The Homesman. It’s more than that.” By the way, he did tell me hasn’t talked to his old friend and roommate Al Gore in some time. And is he ready to take on Meryl and her daughter? “Yes. I am,” he said, which is loquacious coming from Tommy Lee Jones.  It’s not his first directing assignment. In 2005 he gave us the much praised “Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.”

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