Actors do all sorts of things to drum up publicity before movies come out.
They hit the road for national media blitzes, as Liam Hemsworth and other members of “The Hunger Games” did earlier this year, appearing at Lenox Square before throngs of screaming fans. (He’s back, by the way, to film “Catching Fire.”) Or they host charity events, like preteen star Bailee Madison did this summer, participating in a Roswell boutique’s lemonade sale to benefit cancer research as her Hallmark movie “Smart Cookies” was about to debut.
And sometimes they talk to empty chairs in crowded arenas on live national television. Oh wait. That’s just Clint Eastwood.
“There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?” quipped Robert Lorenz, director of “Trouble With the Curve.” The movie, in theaters now, was shot in and around Atlanta. It stars Eastwood as Gus, a crotchety old baseball scout who likes doing things his way, even if it drives his daughter nuts. Amy Adams plays his daughter Mickey (as in Mantle), and Justin Timberlake plays a rival scout with eyes for Mickey.
Eastwood, who sparked an online “Eastwooding” meme (think “planking,” only with an empty chair instead of a horizontal pose) and a spoof Twitter account called “Invisible Obama,” gave an exclusive post-Eastwooding interview to the weekly Carmel Pine Cone in California. Addressing the president in absentia during the Republican National Convention was an impromptu idea, Eastwood told the Pine Cone.
Meanwhile, Eastwood’s manager told The Associated Press that he’ll likely appear on one talk show to promote “Trouble With the Curve.” The man famous for portraying Dirty Harry and the Outlaw Josey Wales generally “chooses to do what he wants to do,” the manager added. No kidding.
Atlanta Braves scout Brian Bridges, the club’s Southeast supervisor and head scout in Georgia, spent a good bit of time with Eastwood when the project was filming here. Gus is a Braves scout, and several scenes take place at Turner Field, with others in Macon, Conyers, Dawsonville, Young Harris and Dunwoody.
“I was on the set at Dunwoody one day, and they broke for lunch,” Bridges told us. “I’m not knocking Amy Adams or Justin Timberlake, but Clint Eastwood would get in the food line with the kids, the parents, the extras and get a tray and eat with them. He didn’t go into his trailer.”
Eastwood was eager to learn all he could, and quizzed Bridges and his fellow scouts about every aspect of their jobs.
“It was important to Clint to have it as authentic as possible,” he said. “The guy is second to none.”
Atlanta jazzman Joe Gransden saw a lot of Eastwood during the filming, too. The two became friends years ago, and Eastwood stopped by Cafe 290 in Sandy Springs to hear Gransden’s big band perform while he was here.
“Clint’s a great guy,” said Gransden, who also plays regular gigs at Twain’s Billiards and Tap in Decatur. “Very laid-back. I enjoyed watching everyone’s reaction when he would walk in a room.”
Lorenz said Eastwood is a pleasure to work with.
“He’s a modest guy,” he said. “He doesn’t want to try to make himself look better than anyone else.”
The main suggestion Lorenz offered Eastwood was to speak up, given his gravelly voice and his perpetually peeved character’s inclination to mutter. And he sounded confident that by the time the movie opens, the whole Eastwooding thing will have gone the way of planking.
“Hopefully,” he told us, “it’ll go down as an amusing side note.”