2011 February 2

On the Rails

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Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones
NICK HUNT / PatrickMcMullan.com
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(NEW YORK) On Wednesday night, HBO and the Cinema Society hosted the New York premiere of The Sunset Limited, based on the Cormac McCarthy play of the same name. The film’s stars, Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson, attended the soiree with Cormac McCarthy, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jason Reitman, Stephen Baldwin, Patricia Clarkson, Fern Mallis, Irena Shayk, Lee Daniels, Paul Haggis, Richard Meier, and 50 Cent.

Tommy Lee Jones--who nabbed the directing and producing honors as well--plays “White,” a down-on-his luck college professor who tries to throw himself in front of a subway train, the Sunset Limited. Samuel L. Jackson’s character, “Black,” is an ex-con turned Christian who saves “White” and takes him back to his New York City apartment. There, with two opposing views, each man tries to convince the other about death, life, faith, the future of mankind. The film was shot at the Garson Studios in Santa Fe, New Mexico in only twelve days.

“For this play, you need an actor who can do the thinking. The thinking is demanding and rather sophisticated. You need a very experienced actor because we had to go fast and didn’t have much time to shoot. You needed someone who was very familiar with both Harlem and southern Louisiana. That narrows it down to one,” explained Jones about his decision to call Jackson for the part. For Jackson, it was a no-brainer. “This movie taught me that I can still learn a lot of dialogue and make it work every day. It’s Cormac McCarthy. None of it is improvised. You gotta say what he wrote,” said Jackson.

And at just that moment, a sun-kissed Josh Duhamel gave Jackson a friendly pat on the back. “What are you doing here?” asked a smiling Jackson. “Are we going to play after this? Great weather!” said Duhamel sarcastically while both men laugh at their inside joke. Arriving not far behind Duhamel was Stephen Baldwin. “I’m here for the acting lesson put on by Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones!” he cheered. Are there any hot topics you won’t discuss at your dinner table? Everything is up for debate if you ask Jones and Jackson (watch the movie and you’ll see) but Baldwin has boundaries. “Lately? Politics. My New Year’s resolution is to not be bothered with all this political stuff. It’s the end of the world. What does it matter?” Baldwin asked. 50 Cent was on a different track. “I try not to talk about business at the dinner table unless it’s an actual business meeting.” Following the red carpet, stars screened the soon-to-be released film and marched to The Porter House for the classic dinner combo: caesar salad and filet mignon with a choice of apple crumble or lemon tarts. This was one dinner full of no work and all play.

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