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Clint Eastwood: Back in the driver's seat with 'Gran Torino'

Clinteastwood_l

Clinteastwood_lGuess Clint Eastwood was serious when he told EW’s Greg Kirschling last summer that he’d come out of acting retirement if the right role came along. Variety reports that the 77-year-old is directing and starring in Gran Torino, which will mark his first acting role in the four years since Million Dollar Baby. He’s keeping details of the plot and characters under wraps, but I’m hoping this’ll be another Baby-like Oscar-courting drama. Like Baby, this one is probably going to be a drama more about character than spectacle (judging by the quick turnaround between now and the year-end release date; it seems too little time to produce an action-fest like the kind Eastwood used to star in, or like the two WWII films he’s released since Baby). Plus, the rush to release it in December, only a month after the release of the director’s recently completed abduction drama Changeling (starring Angelina Jolie), suggests that it’s a priority for Torino to remain fresh in the minds of year-end awards voters (or else it would come out sometime next year, so as not to steal Changeling’s thunder). Finally, Baby also benefited greatly from its under-the-radar status and complete lack of buzz, so that when it appeared and astonished everyone with its third-act plot twist, it rope-a-doped more heavily hyped contenders (notably, Scorsese’s Aviator).

What do you think, PW-ers? Am I just spitballing here? Are you excited to see Clint’s squint in front of the camera again? Think he can pull off another Million Dollar upset?

Originally posted March 19 2008 — 9:51 PM EDT

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