I feel I've been a tad neglectful of this project considering my unnatural obsession with August: Osage County. Part of this is the fact that I don't think we have very specific information on the cast for The Homesman. I've finally conceded that Meryl is indeed participating, but we have no confirmations on who will be playing which roles. A couple days ago a press release came out suggesting that, as expected, Hilary Swank will be portraying Mary Bee Cuddy, who is basically the "homesman." Tommy Lee Jones will play George Briggs, a claim jumper who ends up helping Cuddy transport the "crazy" women to Iowa. Several previous reports had suggested there were only three women being transported, but more accurate synopses of the novel I've seen indicate the number is four.
Ok, so I think we can reasonably expect that Meryl will be portraying one of these four women. This is what I've pretty much thought all along, but again, no actual specifics have been revealed. There have however been three other actresses (in addition to Swank and Streep) listed as attached to the project. These include Grace Gummer (Meryl's daughter), Miranda Otto and Sonja Richter. In Glendon Swarthout's novel, the four women being transported are ages 19, 36, 36 and 43. The four women I've listed (not including Swank) are 26, 39, 45 and 63. I don't see any issue with the first three, and frankly, they could easily change the 43 year-old's character to be closer to Meryl's age. The problem I see is that the 43 year-old gives birth during the story and I wonder if that may be a too much of a stretch? Sorry, Meryl. Although truthfully, she may be passable for mid to late 40's. So, I don't know if that's what's going to happen in the film, but I think it's reasonable to assume that the actresses listed are the four who will portray the "crazy" ladies.
There are apparently a number of other small roles in the film. I'm not particularly familiar with the story so I don't know the characters, but IMDb lists Tim Blake Nelson as a cast member. Then today a couple of tweets came with photos of the alleged cast which include James Spader and John Lithgow. There are a bunch of other people in the tweeted photo collage whom I don't recognize. At this point, who the hell knows? Shooting is expected to begin in New Mexico this week. I think it's possible for this to be ready by year's end. Double noms come January 2014?! Easy, Jeff.