Belfast Telegraph

Jones: No moral message in Homesman

Tommy Lee Jones' film The Homesman has been dubbed a "feminist Western" but the actor insists he didn't mean for there to be any moral message in the movie.

Hilary Swank stars as Mary Bee Cuddy, a single woman with her own farm, keen to find a husband and complete her home. When a number of women in her small Nebraska town go mad, their husbands are reluctant to make the journey to take them to be cared for at a church in Iowa. Cuddy volunteers to take them herself, and hires drifter Briggs (Tommy) to accompany her.

Tommy, 68, helped adapt the script from the novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout and also directs the film.

But he insisted: "I don't think we have any didactic intents at all. I don't believe the movie moralises in any way, or tries to do any teaching."

The US countryside is another star of the movie in the long road trip, but the harsh weather they experienced filming on location in New Mexico did not make it easy.

Tommy laughed: "Sometimes the weather was violent. It was always consistently volatile. And unpredictable. Of course ,we turned that to the advantage of our lens as often as we could."

But he added: "The world is the set. And the set is a character and, of course, it's important. It's a beautiful, beautiful country."

Jones has been directed by some incredible film-makers over the years - Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, the Coen brothers, to name but a few. But he is not keen on the suggestion he could have learned the best techniques from each of them.

He said: "I pay attention all day long, every day, on the movie set. I wouldn't call it cherry-picking. I think I've got a pretty thorough practical education with motion picture cameras."

:: The Homesman is in cinemas now.

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