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September 21, 2012
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SJP


Age not a factor for Eastwood
By Jim Slotek, QMI Agency


Clint Eastwood (WENN.COM)

Does Dirty Harry now prefer golf to directing?

It was when Clint Eastwood made Gran Torino, the apex of his last-act grumpy-old-man screen persona, that he decided that maybe the time had come to stop directing and starring in movies simultaneously.

"Rob (Lorenz, producer of films like Million Dollar Baby and Letters from Iwo Jima) has been making noises about wanting to direct for some years now," Eastwood said at a press conference for his baseball melodrama Trouble With the Curve. It's the first movie since In the Line of Fire in which Eastwood didn't direct himself.

"After Gran Torino, I thought it's kind of stupid to be doing both jobs. I'd been doing it for 40-some years and I should do one or the other, allow a bit of comfort zone. (Rob) stepped right in and took over and I didn't have to do anything. Watch (co-star) Amy Adams throw the ball."

He also spent a fair bit of time golfing with fellow co-star Justin Timberlake during location shooting in Georgia. ("If you roll with Clint, you can get on Augusta, no problem," Timberlake says with a laugh.)

As for handing over the reins, Eastwood said, "I just put it in my mind that somebody else was going to pilot the ship.

"And it's actually quite relaxing, I can just sit back and practice putting. I probably won't do both again," Eastwood says, adding, "but I said I wouldn't act again a few years ago, and that changed."

Which doesn't mean he's hung up his director's hat. He says he's still on schedule to direct a remake of A Star is Born, reputedly to star Beyonce.

In Trouble With the Curve, Eastwood plays Gus, an Atlanta Braves scout with dimming eyesight and failing faculties. With his career on the line, he heads out to the boonies to file a report on the number one prospect in the upcoming draft. Unbeknownst to Gus, the head of scouting has contacted his estranged daughter (Amy Adams) to help him out. The reunion leads to a hashing out of old father-daughter emotional barriers.

At 82, Eastwood does not seem to be bending to age. He took some old-man jibes after his appearance at the Republican National Convention, when he improvised a talk with an empty chair stand-in for President Obama (a "bit" he says he wouldn't do, though he'd still try to communicate the same message).

As for aging, he says, "You know a lot more, at least until you start forgetting it all. So aging can be a fun process to some degree. But ask me a year or so from now and I'll try to give you the same answer."

Trouble With the Curve features numerous scenes of Gus in the stands with fellow scouts -- many of whom were actual talent scouts for the Braves, Red Sox and Tigers. "These are amazing guys," Eastwood says. "They spend 300 days a year in hotels. They're going to invest in a kid who's maybe 17, 18 years old, and offer a tremendous amount of money. They have talk to the neighbours, the parents, find out what this kid is really made out of.

"Because a lot of them have been burned and they told us amazing stories of being burned -- where they had guys they thought were terrific, and as soon as they got out of school and were given millions, they'd go off drinking and run off with somebody else's high school sweetheart. So you just never know."

You also never know about Eastwood's on-again/off-again retirement from acting.

"You have to be a realist. So you try to look for roles in the age you're in. It would be kind of ridiculous for me to say, 'I want to play this 35-year-old.' They'd have to get a sand-blasting machine out."

jim.slotek@sunmedia.ca

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