Clint Eastwood is the set whisperer


The first thing you notice when you walk on to the set, inside the shuttered Park Plaza Hotel overlooking MacArthur Park, are the 300 extras in late-1920s period costumes, seated at cafeteria tables in a holding area, gazing up at you in their wool suits (for the men) and cloche hats (for the women) as though all of this were perfectly normal, as though you were the one who had just beamed in from another dimension. The second thing you notice is how completely, utterly quiet the place is. No production assistants madly rushing about. No ringing bells. No one yelling “quiet on the set” — or, for that matter, yelling. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear they weren’t shooting a big Hollywood movie here at all.

And yet, they are. It’s called Changeling. It’s the 28th movie directed by Clint Eastwood and the first he’s made for a studio other than Warner Bros. since Absolute Power in 1997. (The film will be released next year by Universal, where its producers, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, have a deal.) The first time I interviewed Eastwood, in 2004, he discussed his preference for calm and order during production. He had once attended a White House dinner, he said, and taken notice of the barely audible two-way radios (consisting of an earpiece and compact throat microphone) used by the Secret Service agents. Why, he wondered, couldn’t that technology be imported to a movie set, to cut down on the incessant screeching and squawking of open walkie-talkies? And so he did just that. But to hear Eastwood describe his process is one thing, and to see it being applied is something else entirely.

(Source: LA Weekly)

Directors, Filmmaking

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