In some very interesting news confirmed today by EW, Anthony Hopkins is set to play Ernest Hemingway in an Andy Garcia directed independent film titled Hemingway and Fuentes. Fuentes was not a love interest, like some may just assume from the title, but Gregorio Fuentes, the Cuban captain of a fishing-boat that Hemingway befriended during the last decade of his life (and many say, he was the inspiration for the character of Santiago in Hemingway’s Pulitzer-winning story The Old Man and the Sea).
Garcia will also step in front of the camera, taking on the role of Fuentes, and he actually very interestingly shared the writing credit with Hemingway’s niece, author Hilary Hemingway. According to Garcia’s agent, this has been a “labor of love” for Garcia and he has “been talking about it with me for 15 or 20 years.”
I’ve always been an avid reader of Hemingway, having read five of his novels and many more of his short stories, always enjoying his brilliantly simple and concise prose and his flawed yet realistic heroes. He’s easily one of my favorite writers and influences and I recommend him at every opportunity (so, here I am, recommending: go!). It will be somewhat of a shame that the film will only focus on his later years though, when he battled with some major, major demons including alcoholism and depression. He had quite an interesting life and I’d have really loved to see his years during the war as an ambulance driver in Italy and his interactions with F. Scott Fitzgerald – you looking for a Hemingway and Fitzgerald prequel, Andy? I could totally pull off a young Fitz.
Back when THR announced Hopkins was in talks, Garcia had said this will not function as a biopic, but rather a historical drama, “centering on the final, troubled chapter in Hemingway’s dramatic life” explore his psyche and “the dynamic with Fuentes and the relationship both had with fishing.”
“I’m a Hemingway nut and also an avid fisherman, and the reality of the relationship between Hemingway and his captain is compelling to me,” Garcia said. “The beauty of the movie is it straddles the fence, with one leg in the emotional reality of what people are going through and the other in the humor of the situations.”
Well, I’m on board. This sounds almost as awesome as a Robert Downey Jr.-starring Poe film or one starring me as another literary god of mine, Fitzgerald. This could mean some proper modern treatments of Hemingway’s best novels, particularly his WWI novels. Oh, how bittersweet the thought of that is.