The trailer has finally arrived for George Clooney‘s latest directorial effort in The Tender Bar. The film stars Tye Sheridan as J.R. Moehringer, a famous Pulitzer Prize-winning writer whose memoir of the same name serves as the film’s source material. Ben Affleck portrays Moehringer’s Uncle Charlie, a bar owner who exerts a tremendous amount of influence on the young boy who grew up without a father figure.
The trailer focuses on both Moehringer’s childhood and his days in college, where he decided to become a writer. Despite having an absent father, there was still a large family presence in his life, where he spent a great deal of time with his grandfather, played by Christopher Lloyd. And while the film is certainly Moehringer’s story, the main theme rests in the relationship between nephew and uncle, with Affleck’s Charlie slinging drinks on the bar to J.R., teaching him to bowl, and advising him “to never hit a woman, even if she stabs you with scissors.” Clooney directs from a screenplay written by William Monahan (The Departed, The Gambler).
The Tender Bar has been in production for quite a while now, with an early version set at Sony Pictures with Ted Melfi directing (a completely telling choice, given the strong St. Vincent vibes from the trailer). Amazon Studios acquired the project as it was declared to be in turnaround, which basically means Sony had written off the film and relinquished any further production interest. Clooney and Monahan signed on shortly after Amazon’s acquisition, with Clooney’s regular producing partner Grant Heslov also on board.
Aside from Sheridan, Affleck, and Lloyd, The Tender Bar also stars Lily Rabe as J.R.’s mother Dorothy and Max Martini as J.R.’s absent father. Max Casella, Sondra James, and Briana Middleton co-star. Filming took place from February until mid-April of this year. The film had its world premiere at the London Film Festival earlier this month. The Tender Bar marks Clooney’s eighth time directing a feature film, and also serves as only his second film that he has not both directed and starred in (alongside 2017’s Suburbicon).
The Tender Bar will be released in select theaters on December 17 and nationwide on December 22 prior to its streaming release on Amazon Prime Video on January 7, 2022. Check out the trailer, synopsis, and poster below:
“The Tender Bar tells the story of J.R. (Sheridan), a fatherless boy growing up in the glow of a bar where the bartender, his Uncle Charlie (Affleck), is the sharpest and most colorful of an assortment of quirky and demonstrative father figures. As the boy’s determined mother (Rabe) struggles to provide her son with opportunities denied to her — and leave the dilapidated home of her outrageous if begrudgingly supportive father (Christopher Lloyd) — J.R. begins to gamely, if not always gracefully, pursue his romantic and professional dreams — with one foot persistently placed in Uncle Charlie’s bar. The Tender Bar is based on the best-selling memoir of the same name by J.R. Moehringer.”
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