Because of the current state of the film industry, it’s not too often I come across a description of a movie that leaves me confused. Most of the films that come through Hollywood sound remarkably familiar to others that have come before them, and that’s by design: if the studio has an idea of what to compare something to, it’s easier for them to predict potential profits. (This doesn’t happen all the time, obviously. It’s just a generalization.) But today is one of those rare instances in which a description has left me pretty baffled. And it’s not even a sci-fi head-scratcher or anything. Enough setup – let me explain.
TheWrap reports that Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman, Rush) has signed on to star in and produce a film adaptation of Steve Earle’s book, I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive. Here’s a synopsis of the book, and you’ll probably see why it’s left me wondering what the heck is going on:
Doc Ebersole lives with the ghost of Hank Williams — not just in the figurative sense, not just because he was one of the last people to see him alive, and not just because he is rumored to have given Hank the final morphine dose that killed him.
In 1963, ten years after Hank’s death, Doc himself is wracked by addiction. Having lost his license to practice medicine, his morphine habit isn’t as easy to support as it used to be. So he lives in a rented room in the red-light district on the south side of San Antonio, performing abortions and patching up the odd knife or gunshot wound. But when Graciela, a young Mexican immigrant, appears in the neighborhood in search of Doc’s services, miraculous things begin to happen. Graciela sustains a wound on her wrist that never heals, yet she heals others with the touch of her hand. Everyone she meets is transformed for the better, except, maybe, for Hank’s angry ghost — who isn’t at all pleased to see Doc doing well.
Um…what? So he plays Hank Williams’ doctor, who’s an addict haunted by Hank’s ghost, and who meets a girl who can heal people? Not exactly your typical Hollywood plot summary, is it? And for that very reason, I’m now excited about seeing it. When weird, off-kilter projects come along, it’s good to support them – if they do well, then hopefully other weird stuff will follow, and we’ll be able to slowly break away from the feeling of “sameness” that can often permeate our multiplexes.
First-time filmmaker Benjamin Grayson will write and direct, and his connection to Hemsworth may explain how he got the mega-star to produce and star in his film. See, Grayson was director Kenneth Branagh’s assistant on the first Thor film, so it makes sense that he’d be able to snag the film’s star to appear in his first movie. It’s also worth pointing out that Hemsworth’s on-screen brother Tom Hiddleston is starring as Hank Williams in an upcoming musical called I Saw The Light, so there’s a weird Williams connection between the two Marvel actors. Maybe Grayson will be able to get Hiddleston to play the ghost.
What do you think? Sound weird enough for you, or too bizarre to check out?
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