Posted on Thursday, November 5th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
I don’t think we ever reported on it at the time, but back in March Andy Garcia was talking up a film called Hemingway and Fuentes, about the friendship between Ernest Hemingway and his fishing partner and longtime friend Gregorio Fuentes. At the time, Anthony Hopkins was loosely attached to play Hemingway. That casting has now firmed up, and the film will move forward with Annette Bening also aboard as Mary Hemingway.
Garcia wrote the script with Hemingway’s granddaughter Hilary Hemingway, and he will direct the film in addition to co-starring as Fuentes. Variety reports that it’s a project Garcia says he’s been interested in for thirty years, since he first fished alongside men who knew the author. Landing Hopkins should be the key to get financing together. Garcia explained his long-standing interest in the story:
I was specifically most interested in Hemingway’s connection to Cuba, where he spent the last 20 years of his life, and his relationship with his last captain, Gregorio. As an avid fisherman, I got to know older Cuban fisherman who knew Gregorio from the fishing culture of the 40s and 50s, and who would compete in tournaments outside the city of Havana, which was really the beginning of competitive fishing.
He wrote one script before meeting Hilary Hemingway, which led to a collaboration and the current draft that revolves around the fishing expeditions of Hemingway and Fuentes. The time period is the end of the author’s life — his last two decades in Cuba — where he fished with Fuentes and fell in love with an Italian girl (not Mary Hemingway) and wrote The Old Man and the Sea. When this was originally announced I wondered if the film would conclude with the author’s suicide, or if it would work around the very end of his days. We still don’t know that, and may not know much more for a while, until Garcia gets the financing to movie forward.