Coming to Papa for 'Islands'

Jones to produce, direct and star in new adaptation of Hemingway novel

Tommy Lee Jones is taking on the work of Ernest Hemingway, signing on to adapt, direct, produce and star in the writer's posthumous novel "Islands in the Stream."

Morgan Freeman and John Goodman also are in discussions to board the film, which follows a 1977 version starring George C. Scott.

"Islands" centers on the life of a reclusive painter named Thomas Hudson before, during and after World War II after he moves to the Bahamas. Like many Hemingway characters, Hudson — who in the tale has a stint working for the U.S. Navy and endures a series of family tragedies — leads a complicated emotional life that he hides behind a stony exterior.

The book was published in 1970, after Hemingway's death. Jones co-wrote the script with Bill Witliff.

The movie is being packaged by Gary Smith's hybrid exec producing-sales agent shingle Intandem and Cassian Elwes and Rena Ronson's William Morris Independent, with the former handling international rights and the latter selling domestic in Cannes. The project will be presented to buyers at a Sunday event featuring Jones at the Festival de Cannes.

The Hemingway adaptation marks Jones' sophomore directorial effort after "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada."

"Islands," which is set for an estimated $30 million budget, will shoot in Puerto Rico, with production scheduled to start in March.

Jones will produce "Islands" with Eric Williams of Javelina Film.

Intandem is behind the upcoming media-world dramedy "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People," while WMI will be selling Abel Ferrara's "Chelsea on the Rocks" in Cannes.

Stuart Kemp contributed to this report.