Clint Eastwood has spent much of his long and distinguished career in recent years to directing with films like Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters From Iwo Jima, and J. Edgar.
Now the 82 year-old returns to acting with his first film in four years and his first role in a film he has not been behind the director’s chair in 19 years for with the sports drama Trouble With The Curve.
In the film, Eastwood plays Gus Lobel, an aging Atlanta Braves baseball scout in the twilight of his career. He talks about accurately portraying the life of a scout in Major League Baseball.
“These guys are amazing guys,” he says of them, “They spend 300 days a year in hotels but they have to not only…because they’re going to invest in a kid who’s maybe 17 or 18 years old and so they take this kid and they’re going to offer him a tremendous amount of money to come with their team. They have to really vet them all the way down the line. They have to go down to the neighborhood, stay in the neighborhood, talk to the neighbors.”
“Would you want your daughter to go out with this guy?” Clint adds, “Talk to the parents and find out what the kid is really made out of. Because a lot of them have burned. They told us some amazing stories about being burned where they had guys that they thought were terrific and as soon as they got out of school and they were given multimillions of dollars to join this team they’d all of a sudden go off and start drinking and run off with somebody else’s high school sweetheart and what have you. So, you just never know. They take a big risk. I guess if you make too many mistakes you’re out of a job.”
Clint talks about the pros of cons of aging.
“Am I aging?” Eastwood quips, “The pros and the cons…well, you know a lot more at least until the time you start forgetting it all. So actually, aging can be a fun process to some degree. But ask me in a year or so from now and I’ll try to give you the same answer.”
Eastwood also mentions how he stays in shape.
“I just exercise a lot, play golf with Mr. Timberlake,” Clint says, “That’s what we did in our spare time down there. I eat salmon and broccoli.
Clint also talks about what made him return to acting for Trouble With The Curve and being directed by someone else again, in this case being Robert Lorenz. Lorenz has worked on Eastwood’s films in the past as producer and assistant director. The actor talks about being directed by him.
“Well, it’s gotten horrible,” Eastwood says, “I had to listen to everything he said. Actually, he did a terrific job, I thought. Rob’s been making noises about wanting to direct for some years now. When this property came along it was what I wanted to do. After Gran Torino, I kind of thought this is kind of stupid to be doing both jobs.”
“I’ve only been doing it for 40 some years,” he adds, “I thought maybe I should just do one or the other and allow myself a little bit of a comfort zone. So, this was an opportunity for that. He stepped right in and just took over. I didn’t have to do anything except watch Amy [Adams] throw the ball. “
Eastwood was asked if he had to make any adjustments acting for a different director for the first time in 19 years.
“Well, I had to make no adjustments at all because I’ve always maintained that there’s more than one way of doing things,” he says, “A lot of people come up with ideas and maybe out of a dozen of them maybe three or four of them are really great. So, I just it in my mind that somebody else is going to pilot the ship, that’s all.”
“It’s actually quite relaxing because I just can sit back,” Clint continues, “When these fellows were all working I was practicing putting or something, I don’t know. But it was a great, relaxing thing. I probably won’t do both again at least for the moment. But I said I wasn’t going to act again a few years ago and that changed too. Sometimes you just lie a lot.”
Clint talks about what has kept him passionate about making movies with younger actors.
“It’s just always…acting gets in your blood after so many years,” Eastwood says, “You always like revisiting it. It’s fun to meet new people and watch them coming along in different stages of their career. It’s fun to work with a girl who knows how to throw a baseball. The great thing about Amy, I just want to relate to that a second, she is really athletic and she can run.”
“She doesn’t run with her hands floating out,” he adds, “She doesn’t throw the ball like that. She winds up and throws it. She’s obviously got a little bit of tomboy attitude somewhere in her life. It pays off in this role because otherwise you’d have to do it by some sort of trickery. Have a double come in, throw the ball, cut to the person in a close up or something.”
Eastwood talks about confronting a subject like aging in a film role.
“You get to a certain age and you’re just glad to be there,” he says, “I don’t know what to add to that. It’s fine. You have to be a realist so you try to look for roles that are within the age you’re in. It would be kind of ridiculous if I say I want to play this 35 year-old guy or something like that.”
“They’d have to get a sandblasting machine out and start to work,” Clint adds, “It’s great. I mean be realistic about where you are in life and enjoy it. I’ve enjoyed the journey to this stage. So, I intend to enjoy the rest of the journey.”
Clint was asked whether a clip from one of Clint’s old films was used in a flashback fight in the barn.
“It was just fine,” Eastwood says, “There’s numerous selections of me pounding on somebody in various pictures along the way through the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s. But it was fine. That was a good piece to use because I’m wearing somewhat the right close. It was fine, just fine. Other than having somebody else do it.”
The movie comes out in the wake of Eastwood’s rather distinctive and theatrical stumping for presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the recent Republican National Convention. Eastwood talks about what he had hoped to achieve with his speech.
“Well, it didn’t get the response that I wanted because I was hoping they’d nominate me,” he remarks, “My ambitions were tremendous. But it was…I don’t know what the response was.”
“My only message was that I just wanted people to take the idolizing factor out of every contestant out there and just look at the work and look at the background and then make a judgment on that,” Clint continues, “I was just trying to say that and I did it in kind of a roundabout way, which took up a lot more time, I suppose, than they would have liked.
Clint was asked if he would have come up with something else had he gotten to relive his moment on the RNC stage again.
“I’d probably say something else,” Eastwood replies, “But I’d try to get the same message across that people don’t have to put up with politicians for the sake of…no matter what party they’re in. You should just evaluate their work and make your judgments accordingly. That’s the way you do it in life in every other subject. But sometimes in America, we get gaga and we look at the wrong values.”
“I don’t know if I would go down the same way. I doubt it, because I thought of that about five seconds before we started,” When you walk out there, you get an audience of 10,000 people that are extremely enthusiastic. You don’t really get a chance to…your mind goes blank anyway, so you can say something else.”
Eastwood talks about the possibility of directing another remake of A Star Is Born.
“A Star is Born is a project that we’re going to do down the line,” Clint says, “It’s not eminent right now. I mean it’s six months away.”