Actor James Woods has become a legend in Hollywood through his body of work, and sometime next year (or slightly later), you’ll be able to see him in Rod Lurie’s version of the Sam Peckinpah revenge thriller Straw Dogs, playing Tom Hedden, a smalltown Southern football coach turned alcoholic who causes problems for a young Hollywood couple, played by James Marsden and Kate Bosworth.
ComingSoon.net recently visited the set of the movie in Shreveport, Louisiana, and we were able to talk to Woods first-hand about the role, as well as a project he’s really invested in called An American Girl which Woods plans to direct with Kristen Stewart (the “Twilight” films) in the lead role. Woods bought the script, written by Tim Metcalfe (Kalifornia, The Haunting in Connecticut) and Sean McCarthy, then approached Kristen Stewart “before she was famous,” telling her that he wouldn’t make the movie with anyone but her, and since reading the script, Stewart has been urgently wanting to get the movie made.
Woods gave us a quick rundown of the basic plot synopsis:
“It’s about a young woman who is really destructive. It’s that magical time right after you’re out of high school. She was the top swimmer and dive champion in school. Now it’s a year later and she lives in a little town in Indiana and the place is dying, she’s working in a grocery store and drinking and drugging too much and she’s showing off in front of this guy who likes her, and gets involved in a big sex thing with two guys drunk one night at a quarry. She gets taped doing it on somebody’s phone and in a small town, her reputation is ruined and on a drunken whim, she joins the Marines, which is ridiculous. The ironic thing is that along the way she starts learning these values she doesn’t expect. They’re just values like you take your brother, they take care of you. It’s not like she’s a gung-ho Marine. She starts to sober up and then she gets into the Linus Program because she’s smart where they teach these women to speak Arabic. When they’re in combat situations, women in the Muslim world were not comfortable talking to men soldiers but they’d talk to the women soldiers so these women learned to speak the language and would ask if there were arms or snipers in the house. A tragedy happens and when she comes back to the town where she was a disaster, she rebuilds her life and finds through this tragedy a greater value in herself. It’s ‘Coming Home,’ ‘Best Years of our Lives,’ it’s part of that trilogy. It’s a phenomenal story and a slam-dunk Oscar for her.”
Woods proceeded to tell us this amazing extensive anecdote about how Metcalfe sent him the script while he was driving across country in a terrible storm. While stopping to get out of the rain in Indiana of all places, Woods read the script in PDF format and decided that very night he was going to buy and direct the movie. Woods has already spent a few days working with Stewart and the two writers on the script and while Stewart was hoping Woods would play her father in the movie, he told us that he would rather focus on directing and producing the movie.
Look for our full interview with Mr. Woods sometime next year, as well as the rest of our report on visiting the set of Straw Dogs.