What if I were to tell you that Mark from North Hollywood, the fine fellow who showed off his vintage Gran Torino to some guy from Village Roadshow Pictures, might not exist, and that Dirty Harry in Not My Grandson!!! might be as close to production as The Day After the Clown Cried?
Though the wild speculation was fun, Edward Havens of FilmJerk.com is bringing us all back to reality today with word that Clint Eastwood’s mysterious Gran Torino is really just “a simple, quiet and compelling drama about Walt (Eastwood), a rural bigot who finds his outlook on life changed after a family of Hmong immigrants move in to the home next to his own, striking up a friendship with the family’s teenaged son Tao over the older man’s now-classic car.” Ah, the palliative power of an automobile made famous by a pair of 70s television cops.
I doubt Havens would hit us with a load of counter-hooey so soon after the highly improbable Dirty Harry news, so I’m inclined to believe this is the real story. It certainly sounds like the kind of quiet, reflective tale that would appeal to Eastwood after two war films (Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima) and a period kidnapping drama (Changeling). While I’d love to see Eastwood go the revisionist route with Harry Callahan (provided he had a solid screenplay), it just doesn’t seem that that’s where his head is at nowadays (the other project he’s been developing is about Nelson Mandela bringing the 1995 Rugby World Cup to South Africa). Dirty Harry movies don’t win Oscars (though they fuckin’ well should!).
Speaking of which, I suppose we should pencil in Gran Torino for a Best Picture nomination. It hasn’t begun shooting yet, but Eastwood’s confident he’ll deliver the film by December. Given his legendary efficacy, he could probably start principal photography in October and hit that date.