Clint Eastwood - Movie Acclaim That's Making Big Clint's Day
Daily Express 16th July 1993
CLINT EASTWOOD'S lover, actress Frances Fisher, who is expecting their baby daughter in early September, says this is her man's "right time".
That's a little modest. This is Eastwood's prime time. With two Oscars under his gun-belt for Unforgiven earlier this year, Eastwood seems certain to be nominated again next year.
It will be for Best Actor in his new film, In The Line Of Fire, in which he not only turns on the heat but some old-fashioned charm, too.
At the age of 63, East; wood's glittering career is entering a new phase with rave reviews for this movie — the biggest grown-ups' box-office hit of the summer in the States.
Vincent Canby, influential film critic of the New York Times, described Eastwood's performance as the haunted secret agent Frank Horrigan as the "richest yet by an actor who just keeps getting better and better".
The praise is a far cry from those early days when he was pigeonholed as an actor who was only good for fight scenes, after his success in Spaghetti Westerns and as Dirty Harry.
He can smile at that label now, having been named Best Director and winning Best Picture for Unforgiven at this year's Oscars. Ironically, the Eastwood of the Dirty Harry era is edited into In The Line Of Fire as the film establishes how the young secret serviceman Horrigan failed to prevent the assassination of JFK.
Now, years later, an assassin is stalking the current president. The crazy professional killer Mitch Leary, played by John Malkovich, taunts the guilt-ridden agent about his failure in Dallas and then goads him with his plan to murder the president.
Eastwood's Horrigan squints his eyes and tells Leary: "That's not gonna happen." Already, this has become a catch-phrase in America, fast overtaking the popularity oft "Go Ahead, Make My Day."
The movie gives Eastwood a shot at playing a romantic if craggy leading man when he enjoys a romance with Lilly Raines, a beautiful and much younger secret agent, played by Rene Russo, the love interest in Lethal Weapon 3.
Horrigan is not quite over-the-hill but he can certainly see the view on the other side. His family have gone. He should have retired. Instead, he's hunting a killer.
Lilly knows she's crazy to be involved with this sexist dinosaur but she can't resist his well-aged charm.
JUST as Frances Fisher, 41, couldn't resist Eastwood's in real life. She played the prostitute Strawberry Alice in Unforgiven and will be seen later this year in the film Baby Fever. Fisher says the baby will "enhance" her relationship with Eastwood. But there's no talk of marriage yet. Too much is happening in their lives and she says of her partner: "He's starting a whole new career as a romantic lead."
Eastwood appears embarrassed at the description. "The image you get is usually accidental," he says.
"Because I clicked with Westerns and adventure films, then cop dramas, people thought I was a guy who went around wielding a Magnum. But I don't really do that." He happily acknowledges that his roles as the reformed gunman William Munny who goes back to kill in Unforgiven and Frank Horrigan have been his greatest.
"These characters have a certain depth, a certain reflection on their past behaviour — or lack of behaviour," he adds.
"Past behaviour in the case of Munny, lack of it in the case of Horrigan. These things have haunted them and it's very exciting to play people who have to overcome that."
Before In The Line Of Fire opened in American cinemas, the big word was "Eastwood cries!".
No big deal, says the actor: "I don't know if this is the first time I've ever cried in movies. I think I did in The Outlaw Josey Wales.
"Crying in movies is not necessarily acting; most actors can do it without too much trouble. It's what you hold back, what you are trying to stifle that builds up the inner energy.
"I may just be entering my prime as far as my work goes.
"Hopefully, these recent films are an indication that I'm entering a new era where I'll be able to strive to do different things and take on roles I've never had a chance to play before."
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