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Clint Eastwood

How a Clint Eastwood Western Inspired Star Wars’ Most Terrifying Villain

Every fan of the Star Wars galaxy has heard the term “space Western” thrown out to describe the franchise. That phrase has stuck for a reason, as it perfectly encapsulates the inspirations flooding George Lucas’ mind when creating the Original Trilogy. Lucas is not coy when speaking about his inspirations being drawn from Samurai films and mid-20th century Westerns like A Fistful of Dollars. When returning to his greatest story during development for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Lucas, along with Dave Filoni and Henry Gilroy, took inspiration from another film in Clint Eastwood’s “Dollars Trilogy” when creating a new bounty hunter.

That bounty hunter is, of course, the deadly Cad Bane, a character who recently made his brief live-action debut in Disney+’s The Book of Boba Fett. The blue-skinned gunslinger owes a lot to the trilogy of spaghetti Western films, but one character from the series’ final film, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, directly influenced his look, demeanor and grit. Representing “the Bad” in the film’s title was Lee Van Cleef’s iconic Angel Eyes, who very well may be Earth’s version of Cad Bane.

When watching Van Cleef as Angel Eyes in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the similarities between the two characters are striking. The cold-blooded killers share so many qualities, from their signature grimaces to their infatuation with earning money at the cost of others’ lives. Between their famous wide-brimmed hats and Bane’s devilish red eyes giving a wink to “The Bad’s” name, Angel Eyes, Lucas was practically begging for fans to make the connection. It seems like the only thing missing is Van Cleef’s truly superb mustache.

Cad Bane was introduced in 2009 during the Season 1 finale of The Clone Wars. This was a strong call on the creatives’ end because his inclusion intrigued fans at the potential for a new iconic Star Wars villain, which was honestly something the series desperately needed at the time. During the episode, titled “Hostage Crisis,” Cad Bane proves himself not only to be a physical threat but a mental one as well, much like Angel Eyes, who’d often play mind games to get a step ahead.

Cad Bane’s live-action appearance in The Book of Boba Fett dripped with Western nostalgia right from the get-go. As Cobb Vanth looked out across the Tatooine desert to see a shadowy figure approaching, it wouldn’t have been out of place for a tumbleweed to roll through the shot. The slow tilt up of Bane’s head that revealed the ruby-red eyes below his wethered hat felt lived in and something directly out of a Sergio Leone storyboard. Even the episode’s title, “From the Desert Comes a Stranger,” sounds like the name of a forgotten Western sitting in someone’s VHS collection.

The ambiance of Star Wars has always been influenced by the immortal images captured by directors like Leone, Kurosawa and Eastwood. The scum and villainy living on the streets of a certain Daimyo’s Mos Espa are the same types of characters that would be seen clearing out of Dodge just before a shoot-out. Cad Bane’s emergence into the Star Wars canon only continues that tradition and is truly a welcomed addition.

Some may see this inspiration as a direct rip-off on Lucas’ part, as the influence is so heavy-handed in the series. However, the same is true for Kurosawa, who watched American Westerns when prepping to create his films, which went on to influence Leone when creating Angel Eyes. At this moment, it is unclear if Cad Bane’s appearance in The Book of Boba Fett will be his last. Hopefully not, as his presence carries on a tradition that started in the original trilogy, and it was honestly a weak way for such a terrifying figure to go out.

To see Cad Bane in the flesh, The Book of Boba Fett Season 1 is available to stream on Disney+.

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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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