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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Clint Eastwood cover gallery: Coda

In 2000, Eastwood directed and starred in Space Cowboys, which also starred Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner. In the film, he plays Frank Corvin, a retired NASA engineer called upon to save a dying Russian satellite. Space Cowboys was one of the year's commercial hits and was generally well-received and holds a 79% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The film received a moderately favorable review from Roger Ebert  who remarked, "it's too secure within its traditional story structure to make much seem at risk—but with the structure come the traditional pleasures as well... Eastwood as director is as sure-handed as his mentors, Don Siegel and Sergio Leone. We leave the theater with grave doubts that the scene depicted in the final feel-good shot is even remotely possible, but what the hell; it makes us smile."

In 2002, Eastwood played an ex-FBI agent on the track of a sadistic killer (Jeff Daniels) in the thriller Blood Work, which was loosely based on the 1998 novel by the same name from Edgar Award-winning writer Michael Connelly. The film was a failure, grossing just $26.2 million on an estimated budget of $50 million and received mixed reviews, with many reviews believing it well-made but marred by lethargic pacing. A. O. Scott of the New York Times believed that the film was unoriginal and was too similar to many other of Clint Eastwood's films, although commented that, "there is something comforting in seeing this old warhorse trot gamely out of the gate for yet another run on familiar turf." Despite the lacklustre performance at the box office and mixed reception, Eastwood won the Future Film Festival Digital Award at the Venice Film Festival.

In 2003, Eastwood and Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to James R. Hansen's First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, the authorized biography of astronaut Neil Armstrong. However, no production date was announced and the film has still not been made. Next, Eastwood directed the crime drama Mystic River, a film about murder, vigilantism, and sexual abuse. The film was written by Brian Helgeland, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane and featured Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins and Laurence Fishburne. It was shot on location in Boston, Massachusetts. Mystic River was received well by critics as well as viewers. The film won two Academy Awards, Best Actor for Sean Penn and Best Supporting Actor for Tim Robbins, as well as nominations for Best Director and Best Picture. The film has an 88% approval rating based on 190 reviews from critics at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, and an even higher rating of 95% from its "Top Critics".[223] The film grossed $90,135,19 domestically on a budget of $30 million.

In 2005, Eastwood found critical and commercial success when he directed, produced, scored, and starred in the boxing drama Million Dollar Baby. Eastwood played a cantankerous trainer who forms a bond with the female boxer (Hilary Swank) he reluctantly trains after being persuaded by his lifelong friend (Morgan Freeman). The film won four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Swank), and Best Supporting Actor (Freeman). Eastwood, also received a nomination for Best Actor, and the trio was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Eastwood also received a Grammy nomination for the score he composed for the film. Million Dollar Baby was in theaters from late January to early June 2005, grossed more than $216 million at the box office and was his highest-grossing film at the time.

In 2006, Eastwood directed two films about the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The first one, Flags of Our Fathers, focused on the men who raised the American flag on top of Mount Suribachi. The second one, Letters from Iwo Jima, dealt with the tactics of the Japanese soldiers on the island and the letters they wrote to family members. Letters from Iwo Jima was the first American film to show a war issue completely from the view of an American enemy. Both films were highly praised by critics and garnered several Oscar nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture for Letters from Iwo Jima. In 2008 Eastwood directed Changeling, based on a true story starring Angelina Jolie. After releasing in several film festivals in 2008, the film grossed over $110 million, the majority of which came from foreign markets.

After four years away from acting, Eastwood ended his "self-imposed acting hiatus" with Gran Torino. It grossed close to $30 million during its wide-release opening weekend in January 2009, making Eastwood, at age 78, the oldest leading man to reach number one at the box office. Eastwood directed, starred, held a producer role, and co-wrote the theme song for the film. Biographer Marc Eliot called Eastwood's role "an amalgam of the Man with No Name, Dirty Harry, and William Munny, here aged and cynical but willing and able to fight on whenever the need arose." Gran Torino grossed over $268 million worldwide in theaters and is the highest-grossing film of Eastwood's career so far without adjustment for inflation. Andrew Sarris of the New York Observer stated that Eastwood "... caps his career as both a director and an actor with his portrayal of a heroically redeemed bigot of such humanity and luminosity as to exhaust my supply of superlatives." Eastwood has said that the role will most likely be the last time he acts in a film.

In 2009, Eastwood directed Invictus, with Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as rugby team captain François Pienaar. Carlin sold the film rights to Morgan Freeman.

Hereafter is a forthcoming thriller film directed by Eastwood from a screenplay by Peter Morgan. It stars Matt Damon as "a reluctant psychic", and co-stars Cécile de France, and Lyndsey Marshal. Filming commenced in France on October 19, 2009, and in the first week of November, production moved to London, England for three weeks of filming in locations including Bermondsey and in Walworth, including the Heygate Estate. Filming resumed on January 12, 2010; Eastwood filmed scenes with de France for three days on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Production next moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. On January 19, scenes featuring Damon were shot at the California and Hawaiian Sugar Company refinery in Crockett, California, which represents a flour mill on screen. Production returned to London on January 29 to shoot the final scenes with Damon. Variety has described the script as a thriller "in the vein of The Sixth Sense." Peter Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter, "It's quite spiritual material, and quite romantic, too. It's the sort of piece that's not easy to describe and in the hands of different filmmakers could end up as wildly different films. Quite unlike some of my other material, which I think there were only certain ways that you could shoot it."

In an interview published in the Los Angeles Times in September 2010 to promote the release of Hereafter, Eastwood revealed that he had been offered the role of James Bond following the departure of Sean Connery, and had also been approached by Warner Brothers to star in Superman when the film was in the early stages of development.

(* The main body text for this column is from the Wikipedia article "Clint Eastwood", accessed 26 September 2010 (last modified 26 September 2010).Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. Visit the original entry for references and links.) 

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