Big Hollywood Names Set to Star in Film of Tom Bailey Novel
Published on October 18, 2012
Glenn Close, James Franco and Brit Marling recently signed on to star in the film version of “The Grace That Keeps This World,” the 2005 novel by Susquehanna University English and Creative Writing Professor Tom Bailey. The movie will be directed by Azazel Jacobs from a screenplay adapted by Matthew Aldrich.
Bailey’s novel tells the story of long-married couple Gary and Susan Hazen and their two adult sons, whose life in the remote Adirondacks is shifting against troubling currents. The younger Hazen son is drawn toward the wider world beyond his hometown, while the older son harbors a secret he fears will disappoint his father. As the family prepares for a hunting trip, with a zealous enforcement officer looking into violations, tensions build toward a dramatic end.
Publisher’s Weekly said, “This accomplished, moving first novel (after Bailey's collection ‘Crow Man’) is about fathers and sons, tough love and compassion, the bonds of community and the solace of belief….This novel has the validity of deeply felt truths and characters who are bound and motivated by a love that arches the chasm of divergent ambitions and desires.”
Bailey optioned the film rights in 2007 and said Aldrich expects to be filming by this December, although the lead, Gary Hazen, has yet to be cast.
“I think the casting [so far] is fantastic,” Bailey said. “I have read the screenplay, and it sticks very closely to the novel.”
Aldrich is best known for his screenplay “Father Daughter Time: A Tale of Armed Robbery and Eskimo Kisses,” for which Matt Damon, who plans to direct and star, won a bidding war. Director Jacobs is familiar to fans of the critically acclaimed film “Terri,” a touching comedy about the struggles of a large 15-year-old boy in a small town that was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Bailey’s second novel, “Cotton Song,” was published in 2006. He is also the author of two books from Oxford University Press, “A Short Story Writer's Companion” (2001) and “On Writing Short Stories” (2000). Widely published in literary journals and magazines, including DoubleTake, his fiction has been reprinted in such anthologies as The Pushcart Prizes and New Stories From the South and cited in The Best American Short Stories. He is the recipient of a Newhouse Award from the John Gardner Foundation and was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in fiction. “The Grace That Keeps This World” earned him the 2006 Mississippi Arts and Letters Fiction Prize.
Although no release date has been set, Bailey says he’s a patient man, one who is happy to leave Hollywood to filmmakers. “I'm content to see how it works out. Lots of really smart, talented people are going at this. This isn’t my book, this is a movie—two very different animals.”
Even so, he hopes to visit the set once filming is underway. “Matt [Aldrich] and I have become friends,” he said. “And my kids can’t wait to be extras!”
Watch a video about Tom Bailey at www.susqu.edu/galleries/31433.asp.
Read CinemaBlend.com's report.
Karen M. Jones