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The Contender: Tommy Lee Jones

Inside the minds of the actors who gave 2014’s most astonishing performances

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Some actors-turned-directors prefer not to wear both hats in a single film, but Tommy Lee Jones says he doesn’t mind the extra work. “They’re two different jobs,” he says plainly. “I don’t have much trouble doing both of them at the same time.”

He certainly didn’t seem strained in The Homesman, the moving western he wrote, directed and starred in this year. He plays George Briggs, an army deserter who joins a quartet of women on a troubled trip from Nebraska to Iowa in 1854. Jones says the shoot—like the journey it depicts—wasn’t always easy. “We had rain, hail, sleet, snow and boiling sun—and then went to lunch,” he says. “It was demanding, but very beautiful and rewarding.”

Indeed, Jones more than pulled his weight on the film, and he now notes that holding multiple positions had its perks. “I wrote the film,” he says wryly, “so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time studying my lines.”

Shirt, Jones’ own. 

Go behind the scenes at DuJour‘s photo shoot for Hollywood’s most incredible actors of 2014

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