‘Sunset’ preem shines

Stars celebrate HBO two-hander

It was no surprise that Cormac McCarthy skipped the red carpet at the Time Warner Center on Monday for the Cinema Society-sponsored preem of his HBO Films two-hander “The Sunset Limited” with Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones, who also directed.

Still, the publicity-shy writer came from New Mexico to gauge the reaction to Jones’ version of one of his rare stage plays, first performed in 2006 at Steppenwolf in Chicago and subsequently Off Broadway and in Italy.

“It’s the play. All I did was trim it to fit into 90 minutes,” McCarthy said of his adaptation.

At 77, the “No Country for Old Men” author has been working on what he’s called “a long book.” Will it be done soon? “What do you mean by ‘soon’?” McCarthy asked. 2012? “No,” he replied.

Jones’s directing career is almost as leisurely spaced as McCarthy’s novels; “Sunset” is only his third film in 16 years. “Those jobs are hard to get. Finding the material and then finding a home for it, it’s a long drawn-out process.”

His biggest challenge: “Getting this thing shot in 13 days.”

Among the throng who dined at the Porter House restaurant post-screening: HBO’s Richard Plepler and Len Amato, 50 Cent, Josh Duhamel and Paul Haggis.

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