MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A movie, in the works about the life of author Ernest Hemingway, has its new star, and we’re not talking about an actual actor.
Hemingway’s boat played an integral role in his story, and now its sister ship is in South Florida and ready to make her film debut.
Healthcare mogul and philanthropist Mike Fernandez welcomed CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana aboard the “Pilar”, the sister ship of Hemingway’s own boat from the 1930’s of the same name.
“This vessel has been in hiding for 85 years,” Fernandez explained. “It was found in a barn in upstate New York. It was a wreck. The engine had fallen through the bottom of the boat.”
Fernandez made it his mission to restore the vessel, finding original fixtures, from every plank of wood and ribbing, down to the stove and faucet.
The only additions were a new engine and air conditioner for the cabin.
Fernandez said the entire restoration took three years, but he won’t specify the price tag.
“You can’t put a value on it,” he said. “It’s one of those things that if you have to put a price you should not have it.”
Fernandez says he’s felt an “emotional connection” to Hemingway since he was a boy.
“Eighth grade, I read “The Old Man and the Sea” and I’ve probably read that same book every summer ever since I was a kid,” he said.
Out of that passion, an idea was born.
“Andy Garcia and I talked about creating a story about this vessel and the relationship between Hemingway and his boat captain Gregorio Fuentes,” Fernandez explained.
Cuban-American actor and Miami resident Andy Garcia co-wrote the script for “Hemingway and Fuentes”, which is slated to star John Voight as the famous author and Garcia as his beloved captain.
“No one had a better or closer relationship to Hemingway than his boat captain. Actually, he outlasted all of his wives,” Fernandez recalled.
While Hemingway’s version is on display in Cuba, this Pilar is in Fernandez’s backyard for now, and in his heart forever.
“I’ve had boats from 24 feet to 200 feet and this one is the most special,” he said.
Fernandez said Pilar will likely be on display at the Miami International Boat Show in February.
He said filming of the movie “Hemingway and Fuentes” is scheduled to get underway next summer in either Puerto Rico or the Domincan Republic.