Ed Hemsler spends his life preparing for a disaster that may never come. Ronnie Meisner spends her life shopping for things she may never use. In a small town somewhere in America, these two people will try to find love.
About the Production
It all began about five years ago along a snowy road in North Dakota.
Noble Jones, a filmmaker and cinematographer with a background in documentaries, commericals and music videos, was on a cross-country road trip when he was awestruck by the landscape in the upper Midwest. Raised in St. Albans, a residential area of Queens, New York, Jones had experienced other parts of America but on this particular journey something struck a chord deep within him.
“I wanted to make a mild commentary on the world we live in,” explains Jones. “I also wanted to do something that was slightly surreal, to the point of almost being science fiction. And have the social commentary not play as social commentary as you’re watching it. I find humanity in its masked form to be very interesting—how it funnels down to the individual amidst the throng, so to speak, as we move through history together. It’s all about love, not doom.”
Finding Ed and Ronnie in two acting legends
The script attracted the attention of Oscar-nominated writer-producer-director James Schamus (Brokeback Mountain, Indignation, The Ice Storm) and the next task was finding two actors who could bring an authentic essence to the deceptively simple lives of Ed and Ronnie.
“Much to my manager’s consternation, I do not write roles for actors, at least not at this juncture of my career,” says Jones with a laugh. “With Ed, the character just popped up in my imagination, started yapping, and that’s kind of how I wrote him. You design the narrative but ultimately you start with a character.”
Ed is played by John Lithgow, a beloved industry veteran with more than four decades of work across all genres. His repertoire includes The World According to Garp, Footloose, “3rd Rock From the Sun,” and “The Crown,” along with multiple Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, and Oscar nominations.
Jones raves, “I was so thrilled to have someone of John’s caliber involved in the film. I remember he read the script and we had lunch at a restaurant and he ate off my plate, which was really cute, and we became good pals right away. He’s just the most disarming person. Maybe perhaps because he’s 6’4, with his booming voice and presence and everything, but you can tell right way that he’s just a really great guy.”
Lithgow points out that he was impressed by the compassion and the surprises in Jones’ screenplay. “It seemed like a spectacular piece of storytelling in its originality,” the actor says. “I thought Ed and Ronnie were an unlikely, wonderful combination of people and a great starting point for a love story. Not to mention the fact that it’s two older people. Because you don’t often in movies see older people fall in and out of love and work out complicated problems and press on.”
Bleecker Street will release THE TOMORROW MAN, Friday, June 7 at Ridgeway Cinema Grill.