In the Valley of Elah is Academy Award-winning writer/director Paul Haggis’s follow-up to Crash. The drama follows Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones), a former military MP whose son goes missing upon his return from Iraq, and costars Susan Sarandon as his wife and Charlize Theron as the detective in charge of his case.
“I got to know [writer/director] Paul [Haggis] while I was nominated for North Country. We were doing the award circle; he was doing it for Crash. And the two of us were, like, the only losers in an alley smoking cigarettes, and he told me about this project,” recounts Theron. “We kind of kept running into each other and he kept talking about it. It sounded fascinating. He had sent me a script, he was in Italy and he emailed me a script. And I read it, and the next day I said, ‘Count me in.'”
From writer/drector Paul Haggis (Crash, 2005) comes a mystery about a father in search of his missing son. A David and Goliath theme and an underlying message about the military presence in Iraq provide a good backdrop for this narrative. The screenplay was inspired by Mark Boal’s Playboy magazine article, “Death and Dishonor”.
Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones), a retired military police officer from the Vietnam war, his wife, Joan (Susan Sarandon), and civilian police detective Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron), a single mother struggling to raise a young son, are the major characters in the film. The story begins when Hank’s second son (his first son David was killed in the military) Mike (Jonathan Tucker) has not reported back home even though his army unit has returned home from duty in Iraq. This worries Hank and Joan and causes them to hire an investigator to find out what’s happened to their son. A jurisdictional problem arises: the question is should the military conduct the investigation or should the local police take charge? And it seems that the military wants to sweep this under the rug.
Hollywood.com has a video of interviews with Charlize, Paul Haggis, Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones and scenes from the film. Click here to watch now.