John Hawkes tunes up for jazz pic ‘Low Down’

Will play Parker, Mingus sideman Joe Albany

John Hawkes, an Oscar nominee for “Winter’s Bone” and back in contention for “The Sessions,” is set to play legendary jazz pianist Joe Albany in “Low Down,” an indie movie that will mark the feature directorial debut of established commercials director Jeff Preiss of Epoch Films.

Mark Ruffalo signed on to play Albany back in March 2011 but was forced to drop out due to scheduling issues after production pushed.

Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa (“Little Miss Sunshine”) of Bona Fide Prods. will produce with Epoch Films founder Mindy Goldberg (“Junebug”), while Amy Albany will co-produce.

Written by Topper Lilien and Amy Albany, based on her memoir of the same name, “Low Down” is set in the Los Angeles jazz scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and explores the father-daughter relationship between Albany and his 11-year-old daughter, Amy. Told from Amy’s point of view, the story follows her unconventional childhood with a talented but strung-out father in the shadowy world of cocktail bars and transient hotels.

Albany found early success playing with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Charles Mingus but struggled with heroin addiction later in life.

UTA Independent Film Group is arranging financing and representing sales the film, which is skedded to start production in March 2013.

Hawkes currently stars as disabled poet Mark O’Brien in Fox Searchlight’s acclaimed dramedy “The Sessions” and can also be seen alongside Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” In addition to a recurring role on HBO’s “Eastbound & Down,” thesp recently co-starred in “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion.” He remains attached to star opposite Jennifer Aniston in Dan Schechter’s untitled adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s crime novel “The Switch.”

Hawkes is repped by Innovative Artists, Thruline and attorney Todd Rubenstein of Morris Yorn.