While talking with Thomas Jane about his upcoming directorial debut Dark Country, which is set to hit DVD on October 6th, the in-demand actor revealed that he will be playing Glen Sherley in a biopic about the armed robber turned country musician. Shirley was a protégé of Johnny Cash that escaped Folsom Prison to become a singer songwriter. He penned Cash's song Greystone Chapel, and later killed himself under the pressure of the spotlight. The film is being directed by Tony Kaye, and shooting will start after Jane finishes the second season of his popular HBO drama Hung.
While chatting with us about his character in Dark Country, a man that detested country music, Jane had this to say about his upcoming biopic Glen Sherley:
Dude, what do you have against country music?
Thomas Jane: (Laughs) You know what? I have absolutely nothing against country music. In fact, one of the things I am most looking forward to when I finish the second season of Hung is a film I have set up called Glen Sherley. Sherley taught himself how to play guitar while locked away in Folsom Prison. He recorded an entire album while he was in Folsom Prison, and then got himself released out of Folsom Prison and into the hands of Johnny Cash. He went on tour with Johnny Cash, singing his country songs. Johnny took one of his songs and made it a big hit. This is the life story of Glen Sherley, a career criminal that literally sang his way out of Folsom Prison. This is one of those great American stories that really need to get told. We are going to shoot that next year. I have been playing open mic nights around Hollywood every Wednesday and Friday night. You can find me destroying guitars and eardrums as I perform a couple of these songs. I am learning to play country music for the role.
I am a little bit familiar with Glen Sherley. Is he still alive?
Thomas Jane: Glen killed himself. Part of the story follows how Johnny Cash thrust Glen into the limelight of country music. And it was a little too much for him to handle. He went from this eight by ten jail cell to the wide-open country stage. He was put into the spot light. There were stories being written about him in the newspaper. All of the attention was just too much for the poor guy. He killed himself. His family is supporting this film, and they are happy with the story of his life that we are going to portray. That has been a hell of a journey. We have Tony Kaye, who directed American History X, to direct this film. I am very excited about. I have a lot of projects I am working on, but I am most excited about Glen Shirley.