Jones to star in book adaptation

More than 20 years after “Round Midnight,” his last pic in English, Bertrand Tavernier has begun shooting the Tommy Lee Jones starrer “In the Electric Mist.”

In the bigscreen adaptation of James Lee Burke’s cult novel “In the Electric Mist With the Confederate Dead,” Jones plays Burke’s detective hero Dave Robicheaux. John Goodman, Peter Saarsgard, Ned Beatty, James Gammon, Levon Helm, Kelly Macdonald, Justina Machado, Tom Sizemore and Mary Steenburgen also star.

Michael Fitzgerald’s Ithaca Pictures is producing; Frederic Bourboulon, of Tavernier’s Gallic shingle Little Bear, co-produces.

TF1 Intl. is handling world sales, which it will launch at Cannes, and the company’s theatrical arm, TFM, will distribute in France in 2008. Ithaca holds U.S. and Canadian rights.

Lensing in Louisiana’s New Iberia and New Orleans started Wednesday, Tavernier’s 66th birthday, and is slated to wrap June 26.

“Electric Mist” sees Robicheaux, an ex-alcoholic Vietnam vet, on the hunt for a serial killer of young women. An encounter with Hollywood star Elrod Sykes, played by Saarsgard, leads to another apparently unrelated case.

Script was adapted by Jerzy Kromolowski, Mary Olson-Kromolowski and Jones. The project took three years to develop.

Bourboulon told Daily Variety on Friday, “It’s a crime story that also poses questions of a philosophical nature.”

He added: “Like Lucien Cordier (played by Philippe Noiret) in ‘Clean Slate,’ the hero is someone who never gives up. He seeks out the truth and discovers things that go beyond him. It’s a film that would have meant a lot to Noiret.”

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