Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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Published in Variety, Feb. 26, 2003

Malpaso Prods. takes it one film at
a time

Eastwood Company act as an extended family

By SHARON KNOLLE

For more than 30 years, Clint Eastwood has put out films that bear his mark as a director, producer, and actor via his Warner Bros.-based Malpaso Prods.

And his Malpaso Records label has allowed him to share his love of jazz, such as with the soundtrack to his pic "The Bridges of Madison County."

"People call Malpaso a family and I agree with that," says producer Robert Lorenz, who started out with Eastwood as an assistant director on "Bridges." "Our productions are kind of like our yearly reunion. We are up and running from day one. It makes it incredibly efficient. Of course, the most efficient thing is Clint. He knows what he's doing and what he wants, which makes it easy for everybody. And that is why people want to work with him."

Lately, Malpaso has put out one film every year or two.

"He basically does one film at a time," explains his longtime publicist, Marco Barla. "Other independent production companies work differently. Maybe they do six or eight or whatever, and now you've got Revolution Films or Morgan Creek or Village Roadshow.

"Clint's had a very good relationship with Warner Bros. for 30 years. He makes films that are interesting to him that he thinks have an audience...and they are agreeable to that and they finance it and they distribute it."

His agreement with Warner Bros. is flexible enough so that he could make "City Heat" for Paramount, "In the Line of Fire" for Columbia and "Absolute Power" for Castle Rock. Eastwood will unveil his 24th directorial effort -- "Mystic River," from the novel by Dennis Lehane -- in October.

The film stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon as three childhood friends brought back together by the murder of one of their daughters. The ensemble cast includes Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney.

"It's not what you would consider a conventional film," says Barla. "It's got a lot of elements and a large cast. This is a pretty serious film with some really accomplished, Oscar-level people."

Lehane had instructed his agent not to consider movie offers for his books, but when he heard Eastwood was interested in "Mystic River," he changed his mind.

"River" is only the fourth film Eastwood has directed and not appeared in, after "Breezy," "Bird" and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

"The last project, 'Blood Work,' was a lot of work," says Lorenz. "He was in almost every scene and he had a lot of dialogue and it's exhausting for somebody to have to direct and act at the same time. So, I think he was looking for maybe a rest from that."

Eastwood is also taking a bit of a rest after wrapping "River," which, true to his reputation for efficiency, he brought in ahead of schedule. While he had already lined up "River" during the production of "Blood Work," says Lorenz, Eastwood has not announced his next film.

"He hasn't said anything and I don't ask," Lorenz tells Daily Variety. "When he's ready, he'll let us know. I think right now, he's just really savoring 'Mystic River.' We're all just very pleased with the way it's turning out and I think he just wants to enjoy that. That's what he's done in the past with projects that he's really liked."

2003 Reed Business Information 2003 Variety, Inc.

DISCLAIMER: Because of this article, I hear from a lot of people hoping I can put them in touch with Clint Eastwood. Please note that I don't actually know the man. I always recommend people write to him in care of Warner Bros at 4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505



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