Portraying Gus in Trouble with the Curve could have Clint Eastwood a little reflective. Gus is an aging top scout for the Atlanta Braves who, while trying to reconnect with his daughter (Amy Adams), discovers he is suffering from an illness that will rob him of his sight.
Although he has decades of success, Gus' job is on the line unless he comes up successful on one “last” scouting trip. He's got one mission: Scout the phenom that could be the number one pick in the draft. While there, he runs into a former fastball pitcher (Justin Timberlake) he recruited who is now a scout for the Boston Red Sox.
Watching Trouble with the Curve could also have Eastwood looking back, especially considering the flashback fight scene that utilized a 1960s incarnation of the Hollywood legend. “There's numerous selections of me pounding on somebody just along the way through the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, and etc, etc,” Eastwood told Movie Fanatic and laughed.
Although he had stated that 2008’s Gran Torino would be his final foray onscreen to focus solely on directing, when a man he mentored -- director Rob Lorenz -- brought the Trouble with the Curve project to him, he couldn’t resist.
“After Grand Torino, I kinda thought that it's kind of stupid to be doing both jobs (directing and acting) and I've only been doing it for forty-something years. I thought maybe I should just do one or the other. Just settle back into a little bit of a comfort zone,” Eastwood said with a wry smile.
“This was an opportunity for that. [Lorenz] stepped right in and just took over and I didn't have to do anything… except watch Amy [Adams] throw the ball.”
How rare this moment is hits us when it is realized that Eastwood has not acted for another director other than himself since In the Line of Fire in 1993.
“I had to make no adjustments at all because I've always maintained that there's more than one way of doing things. So I just put it in my mind in the mode that it’s his ship… that's all. It's actually quite relaxing because I just can sit back and when these fellas were all working I was practicing putting or something. I probably won't do both again at least for the moment. I said I wouldn't act again a few years ago and that changed too. So you know sometimes you just lie a lot,” Eastwood said and laughed.
While investigating the vocation for his character, Eastwood was overcome by an appreciation for what scouts do for the game.
“These guys are amazing guys. They spend like two, up to three hundred days a year in hotels. But, they have to -- not only 'cause they're going to invest in a kid who's maybe seventeen, eighteen-years-old and so they take this kid and they're gonna offer a tremendous amount of money to come to their team -- they have to really vet him all the way down the line,” Eastwood said.
“They have to go down in the neighborhood, talk to the neighbors. Ask things like, 'Would you want your daughter to go out with this guy?' They told us some amazing stories about being burned where they had guys that they thought were terrific. Then, as soon as they got out of school they would give them millions of dollars to join this team. They would 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. If you make two mistakes you're out of a job.”
Of course, Eastwood is fresh off his performance at the Republican convention and when asked about the “empty chair” speech as it’s being called, he lets it roll off him as easily as a critic’s critique.
"I didn't get the response that I wanted because I was hoping they'd nominate me,” he said and laughed. “My only message was that I 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 make a judgment on that. I was just trying to say that and I did it in kind of a roundabout way, which took a lot more time than I would have liked.”
When asked if he could go back in time and do it differently, he doesn’t hesitate. “I'd probably say something else,” he said and smiled. “I don't know if I'd do it the same way. I doubt it 'cause I thought of that the five seconds before it all started! But you walk out there, you get an audience of 10,000 people that are extremely enthusiastic and you don't really get a chance to think of something else.”
As someone hits eighty-four-years-old in our society, we tend to immediately attribute an awkward moment to age. In fact, this legend has a great relationship with aging, something shared by his character -- as so eloquently seen in this Trouble with the Curve TV spot.
“Well, you know a lot more at least until the time you start to forget it all,” Eastwood said and laughed. “Ask me a year or so from now and I'll try to give you the same answer.”
Perhaps Trouble with the Curve is his last acting role, maybe not. “You get to a certain age you're just glad to be there,” Eastwood said. If the right part in the right film with the right director came along, like it did for Trouble with the Curve, the legend could step in front of the camera once again.
“It's fun. But, you have to be a realist so you try to look for roles that are really in your age you're in. It'd be ridiculous if I said I want to play this thirty-five-year-old guy or something like that. You'd have to get a sandblaster machine out to make me look that young,” he said and smiled. “I've enjoyed the journey to this stage and so I intend to enjoy the rest of the journey.”
Eastwood, ever shy with his upcoming projects, is as excited about the future as ever and even gives Movie Fanatic a slight hint into the future of a remake that audiences have been salivating over since it was announced.
“A Star is Born is a project we're gonna do down the line,” Eastwood said. “It's imminent right now. It'll be six months away.”
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