All entries for Wednesday 19 October 2005

October 19, 2005

An Insight On Clint Eastwood The Director

According to William Goldman, Clint Eastwood … well, I guess the best term to describe him is efficient. No fuss. No worrying or getting anxious – just know what you want and try and achieve it, simply. At least that's the impression I get from reading the book.

Script meetings – short and to the point.

Rehearsals. Well, apparently, sometimes what he does is to tell the actor to be prepared, just go through his lines or whatever, they're busy setting up the shot. What the actor doesn't know is that, that IS the shot. (I don't really know how that could work, at least not for an independent … what happens when the actor mumbles his lines … we can't afford ADR …)

Interesting insight. I should probably do something similar. Say I want an actor to stride pass the camera – but I don't want him to lose his unique stride, since that is what I hired him for (except that he doesn't know it … behaviour like that, mention it and it's gone). So I just tell him, see that camera there? Now don't look at it. I want you to walk past without looking at it. Try and act normal. Do what you normally do. Hell, I'll walk with you. If you want, just use me as a point in front of you to concentrate on. So we walk – and of course, the camera is running.

Easy.

First, though, we need a script. (Fgrjfsghmsh …)

Speaking of the script, I think I figured out now what is the 'spine' in my story that Goldman keeps referring to. It's the fact that Jeremy should leave university – he doesn't belong here. Problem is this, when I started with the idea Jeremy has always been a character who's jaded with uni life. Recently, with the decision to change his personality into someone more acceptable to the audience, i.e. someone who's not introverted, who may hate academic stuff but is very much 'in' in terms of other aspects of uni life – how can one supply a reason why he doesn't belong in uni?

Anyway, a couple more anecdotes about Eastwood. He goes into a cafetaria, and – Goldman emphasised this – gets in line for his tray. He then goes to a table and has his meal, just like anybody else.

I believe what has kept Eastwood … on top all these years is somehow (he) has clung to the truth: that in spite of all (his) fame, in spite of our millions of spins towards (stars like him), they are just like anybody else.

And when Eastwood was directing Gene Hackman …

… Hackman and I are talking and then Eastwood comes over. … Eastwood says, quietly, "We're ready for you, Gene." Hackman leaves us and Eastwood says how much he loves working with Hackman. I ask why Hackman in particular. "Because I never have to give him direction," Eastwood replied. "I like working with actors who don't have anything to prove."

Agreed.

P.S. – I just want to stress that this in no way demonstrates that I really really really admire Clint Eastwood. I've barely seen his films. What this shows is that Willliam Goldman really really really admires Clint Eastwood.


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