April 27, 2009

Garcia’s Hemingway film a long time coming

Andy Garcia said he has long wanted to make a film about U.S. literary icon Ernest Hemingway's relationship with Cuban fishing-boat captain Gregorio Fuentes.

Now, it seems, that dream will soon be realized.

The 53-year-old Cuban-born actor, who has lived much of his life in Miami, penned the script for Hemingway & Fuentes with screenwriter Hilary Hemingway, the late author's niece. Garcia is also set to direct and co-star in the film, which is about the last years of Hemingway's life when he wrote his classic novel The Old Man and the Sea.

I'm going to play Gregorio Fuentes and Anthony Hopkins is attached to play Hemingway. Annette Bening has also expressed interest in playing Hemingway's wife, Mary, Garcia told United Press International in New York recently.

Asked if he is immersing himself in Hemingway's writing to prepare for the project, Garcia replied: I've been doing that for a good portion of my life. I've also had a long-standing relationship with Cuba, obviously, but also with Cuban fishermen. It's one of my passions. (The story about Hemingway and Fuentes has) been something I've been involved with and thinking about for a while.

As he is getting the financing together for his Hemingway opus, Garcia is also on the promotion circuit for City Island, a family comedy co-starring Julianna Margulies and screening at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan this week.

It was a great read, Garcia said of director Raymond De Felitta's City Island screenplay. I related to the character and connected with him right away and I was really enamored by it. So, it was an easy decision.

Garcia said a specific element he likes about the film is that it captures the way family members can sometimes become disconnected from one another.

In 'City Island,' you have five different personalities in a family, the actor explained. These people ... all have very specific points of view and interests and attitudes and ups and downs in their own personal lives and you sit all those people around a dinner table and sometimes the energy is very good and sometimes you go, 'What's wrong?' (And you get as a response,) 'Nothing!' 'What's going on?' 'Nothing, I don't want to talk about it!' Because people are going through things in their life and all of a sudden they're at the dinner table that night. ... People relate to it. It's universal.

Garcia said he thinks his own home life is a happy one, in part, because he, his wife and children try always to be honest with each other and keep the lines of communication open.

We're as crazy as this family, he joked. We have dysfunctions, but I don't have secrets from them ... Four women, a man, a little boy and three dogs and everybody's got their own personality and their own needs and they wake up in the morning in whatever mood they're in and good luck!

City Island, which premiered Sunday, is scheduled to screen again at the film festival Wednesday and Friday.