Four years ago Clint Eastwood told the world he was done with acting. It was a shock – he might have been 78 at the time, but after more than 50 years of watching Clint’s increasingly grizzled features on camera, it seemed the icon would go on forever. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Eastwood (now 82) is returning to the screen. What is surprising, however, is that for the first time since 1993’s In the Line of Fire he’s not also in the director’s chair. Oh, and it’s a baseball drama – co-starring pop star-turned-actor Justin Timberlake, 31. We can’t think of an odder couple. So here are the two actors, young and old, to tell us about acting, ageing, and their roles in Trouble with the Curve, set to be released in the UAE this week.
Clint, you’re 82. How do you stay in such great shape? I just had a flat tyre on the freeway. I didn’t have to change it myself, but I did. [I] just exercise a lot, play golf with Mr Timberlake. That’s what we did in our spare time [while filming].
This film’s director, Robert Lorenz, was your assistant on movies Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby. How has your relationship changed since handing over to him for Trouble with the Curve?
Actually, he did a terrific job. Rob’s been making noises about wanting to direct for some years, and when this came along it was what I wanted to do. After Gran Torino [Eastwood’s last acting role, 2008], I thought, ‘You know, it’s kind of stupid to be doing both jobs.’ I’ve only been doing it for 40-some years and I thought maybe I should just do one or the other and allow myself a comfort zone. So this was an opportunity for that, and he stepped right in and just took over and I didn’t have to do anything.
After so many years of being your own director, how was it adapting to another director?
I had to make no adjustments at all, because I’ve always maintained that there’s more than one way of doing things. I just put it in my mind that somebody else is going to pile up the shift, that’s all. And it’s quite relaxing because I can just sit back. And I probably won’t do both again, at least for the moment. But I said I wasn’t going to act again a few years ago, and that changed, too. So, you know, sometimes you just lie a lot. [Laughs]
This movie is about ageing. What was it like to confront these issues while acting? You get to a certain age, you’re just glad to be there. I don’t know what to add to that. It’s fun. You have to be a realist, you try to look for roles that are of the age you’re in. You be realistic about where you are in life and enjoy it. I’ve enjoyed the journey to this stage, and so I intend to enjoy the rest of the journey. A long one, I hope.
So Justin, what impressed you about this role? I saw Johnny as the only character who was being honest. I saw him as a really good guy, which I don’t think I’ve gotten to play yet. [Laughs]
Do you think you’ll go back to singing in the future?
Am I going to sing in the future? Like when cars are flying in the future or like now? [Laughs] I hope so. Not any time soon, but hopefully, yes. I would definitely like to continue to do that.
What did it mean to work with Clint Eastwood? If you’d have told me a year before that I was going to get to sit at a bar and trade lines with Mr Eastwood, I’d have laughed at you. And then I would have probably cried because I’d have felt like I would have never gotten that opportunity. There really isn’t a descriptive [word], to be honest. If you roll with Clint… you’re hanging out with the coolest guy in the world. So we just had a lot of fun. Watching him lead by example and seeing someone who’s had such an iconic career, but continue to be so excited to be there, so supportive of everyone else and so collaborative – that’s why the movie’s great, because [he led] by that example. Trouble with the Curve is set to be released on Thursday November 29.