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Clint Eastwood

David Fincher Made ‘Zodiac’ Because He Was ‘Appalled’ by This Clint Eastwood Film

David Fincher’s Zodiac has inspirations that root deeper than the film’s subject itself. The 2007 crime drama continues to impress audiences looking for an engaging mystery. However, Fincher actually worked on Zodiac because he was “appalled” by one of Clint Eastwood’s movies.

‘Zodiac’ tells the story of the Zodiac Killer

'Zodiac' filmmaker David Fincher wearing a collared shirt

David Fincher | Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic

Zodiac tells a story that takes place between the years 1968 and 1983 in San Francisco. A serial killer called the Zodiac killer is haunting the city’s streets. As a result, the killings created panic throughout the community. Investigators (Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards) and reporters (Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr.) become obsessed to solve the case, but it certainly won’t happen overnight.

The Zodiac serial killer is perhaps the most famous unsolved case in America’s history. The story expands past reality into many stories of fiction around the world. Law enforcement knows about five victims, but the killer claims to have many more victims. There are some suspected individuals, but the mystery remains unsolved.

David Fincher made ‘Zodiac’ in his ‘appalled’ response to Clint Eastwood’s ‘Dirty Harry’

IndieWire explored some behind-the-scenes facts about Fincher’s Zodiac. The filmmaker grew up in the Bay Area and knew about the killer as a child. As a result, he always had a certain connection to the material before joining the project.

Zodiac isn’t the only feature film to dig into the serial killer’s story, but it’s certainly one of the most accurate. Eastwood’s Dirty Harry is one of the most famous takes on it, as Harry Callahan was based on the killer. However, Fincher was “appalled” by the way that the film handled the serial killer’s saga. As a result, the filmmaker desperately wanted to make Zodiac into a film that felt historically accurate, but he would need to dive into an exhausting research process to get there.

Fincher worked alongside screenwriter James Vanderbilt. They took a journalistic lens to the subject matter via an 18-month process. They explored over 10,000 documents and interviewed witnesses, law enforcement, and politicians. Fincher and Vanderbilt wanted Zodiac to read as authentic as possible.

David Fincher made one of the biggest critical wins of the year

Zodiac remains a huge critical success. The film is enjoying an 89% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes with over 250 reviews. The film didn’t earn any nominations at the Oscars, but many critics enthusiastically put the movie on their “Best Of the Year” lists. No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood were the only two movies that year to land more list placements.

Serial killers often inspire many forms of entertainment, including film and television. However, filmmakers don’t tend to approach the subject with the journalistic approach that Fincher used on Zodiac. As a result, he created a film that impacted audiences around the world. It certainly approaches the subject matter with more accuracy than Eastwood’s Dirty Harry.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood May Replace Steven Spielberg as ‘American Sniper’ Director

American Sniper – based on the late Chris Kyle’s memoir “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” – has attracted some big Hollywood talent, ever since Bradley Cooper’s 22nd & Indiana production company picked up the rights in 2012 (with Cooper attaching himself as the star and producer). Case in point, Cooper’s Silver Linings Playbook writer/director David O. Russell was reported as being the first serious contender in consideration for the helming job on Sniper.

Russell has decided to look elsewhere, where it concerns the possible followup to his next project: the true-story historical dramedy American Hustle (also starring Cooper). Steven Spielberg appeared to be all-ready to commit as director on American Sniper back in May of 2013, but he then dropped out around three months later.

Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. wants American Sniper to begin filming by the first quarter of 2014. That could mean the studio intends to release the movie during the subsequent awards season; or, at least, have the Sniper adaptation ready in time to make an Oscar-qualifying limited theatrical run in December next year.

However, in order for that to be feasible, WB is going to need a director known for working fast, efficiently and effectively to captain the American Sniper ship – which may be part of the reason why the studio has begun “tentative negotiations” with Clint Eastwood, so as to have the Oscar-winning legend take the helm. If a deal is struck, then Eastwood will begin filming his Jersey Boys musical adaptation at the conclusion of this month (August 2013, at the time of writing this), before he wraps up production a couple months later and then jumps head-first into principal photography on Sniper.

Kyle’s American Sniper book – detailing how the former Navy SEAL went “from Texas rodeo cowboy to expert marksman and feared assassin” – has been adapted into movie script form by Jason Dean Hall. The latter’s artistic credibility took a hit this past week, due to the poor critical reception for Paranoia (which Hall co-wrote). I’m taking the time to note this because Eastwood has a tendency to direct scripts with potential – something that Hall’s American Sniper script draft clearly has (given the talent it has managed to attract).

Problem is, Clint the director is able to work faster because he skips on polishing or fine-tuning the scripts he works from, as has become increasingly noticeable in his more recent films (see: Invictus, J. Edgar) – meaning, he may not be the right guy to give Hall’s American Sniper script draft any necessary tweaks it needs to realize its full promise. Moreover, Eastwood’s no-budge directorial temperament often gives rise to a slow-paced and soulfully-morose final product – but is that the right approach to Kyle’s story, passing over how respectful Eastwood would be towards his subject?

How about it, then: Clint Eastwood to direct American Sniper, yay or nay?

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood to Direct ‘Jersey Boys’ Film?

These days, actor/director Clint Eastwood is best known as the filmmaker behind hard-hitting dramas like Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River. However, the former Dirty Harry has been looking to try his hand at a very different genre for quite a while – the musical.

For years, Eastwood has been developing a remake of A Star Is Born, which was most recently brought to the big screen in 1976 with Barbara Streisand in the lead. Eastwood’s version – which would be the third remake of the original 1937 production – was set to star Beyoncé Knowles. However, Knowles has since dropped out of the project, leaving it in a state of limbo for now.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Eastwood will instead shift his focus over to another musical project with the film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway production Jersey Boys. The plot focuses on the rise and fall of musical group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and uses the group’s music to tell its story. Jon Favreau had previously been attached to direct the film.

If Eastwood takes on Jersey Boys, the film would likely be his next directorial project, followed (presumably) by A Star Is Born. The latter film is currently courting Grammy-winning jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding to star, though the project has also faced difficulty in casting its male lead. Sean Penn is among the most recent crop of actors being discussed for the role.

Eastwood’s decision to move on from A Star Is Born is a wise one, considering that project looks like it will take a while to gain any traction. Besides, a filmmaker as accomplished as Eastwood can lend just the right amount of gravitas to something like Jersey Boys. After last summer’s Rock of Ages failed to score at the box office, audiences may need convincing to check out another “jukebox musical.”

Do you think Eastwood is a good fit for Jersey Boys? Let us know in the comments section below.

Stay tuned to Screen Rant for the latest news on the Jersey Boys movie as this story develops.

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Clint Eastwood

‘Trouble with the Curve’ Images: Clint Eastwood Returns to Acting

Clint Eastwood hasn’t appeared onscreen in four years, and the last time he acted under the direction of someone other than… well, himself was in 1993. The 82-year old Hollywood legend returns to the big screen in Trouble with the Curve from his protégé Robert Lorenz, who’s worked on-and-off as an assistant director and/or producer on Eastwood’s films (beginning with Bridges of Madison County).

Eastwood co-headlines Trouble with the Curve alongside three-peat Oscar-nominee Amy Adams. The supporting cast isn’t shabby either, including John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Robert Patrick, Matthew Lillard (The Descendants), and semi-newcomer Joe Massingill.

Trouble with the Curve is a father-daughter relationship drama explored through the lens of an off-the-field sports drama. Newcomer Randy Brown’s script revolves around an Atlanta Braves scout (Eastwood) who on the verge of being put out to pasture, due to his diminishing eyesight and old-fashioned approach to recruiting players (obviously, he doesn’t subscribe to the Moneyball school of thought).

Eastwood’s character convinces his estranged daughter (Adams) to accompany and assist him on what could be his last assignment, to determine whether or not a promising power hitter (Massingill) has potential to make it in the big leagues. Timberlake plays a player-turned-scout who’s on good terms with Eastwood, but risks trouble when he starts getting too friendly with Adams.

Lorenz has the opportunity to demonstrate the directorial tricks he’s picked up on working with Eastwood over the years, while establishing himself as a reputable storyteller on Trouble with the Curve (his feature-length directorial debut). The two-time Oscar nominee certainly works as efficiently as his mentor, given the six-month turnaround between the film’s production start date and its release this fall.

Moreover, Trouble with the Curve could satisfy as a capstone to Eastwood’s acting legacy, much like Unforgiven did for his days working in the western genre; not to mention, Gran Torino served as a swansong to his career playing characters who’re rough around the edges (ex. Harry Callahan). If Eastwood turns in a performance deemed awards-worthy by his peers, well, that’s icing on the cake.

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