LOS ANGELES — Academy Award winner Tommy Lee Jones wears more than one cowboy hat in his new Western, “The Homesman,” giving him full control of, well, everything. He co-wrote, co-produced, directed and co-starred with fellow Oscar winner Hilary Swank.

Jones is known to play tough guys and has built a reputation as someone you wouldn’t want to cross. Yet after spending endless hours with Jones, Swank developed a new appreciation for the man of few words.

“It’s so easy to stereotype people,” she said in a recent joint interview with Jones to promote “The Homesman.” “He shows what he wants to show to the press or to the world and yet he … comes alive on set in a totally different way. He’s a visionary; he’s an artisan. I just was a sponge in his presence,” she said.

Behind that dead stare and those grunts is a kind, loving man, a “softy,” she said.

“I don’t know. That’s not a word that I would use to describe anybody, much less myself, but it sounds positive right?” said Jones. “So yeah, all right, I’m a ‘softy.’ Yeah, I’ll accept that.”

“The Homesman” opened Friday.