Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Winter 2010 Contents Then there was the great Clint Eastwood: the greatest tough guy in the
history of tough guys. The man who has done -- and continues to do -- it all.
In a career that spans more than 50 years, 65 film roles, 33 directed films
(with two more to come) and four Oscars, Eastwood managed to be all tough
guys rolled into one: cool, solid, damaged, able, conflicted and certain. All in
a squint. The moment in Dirty Harry where Harry strolls over to the crim on
the sidewalk, amid the chaos and a hydrant geyser, to deliver the "Do you feel
lucky punk?" speech is arguably the tough guy oeuvre s zenith.
A new coffee-table book by Eastwood s pal and biographer Richard
Schickel, entitled Clint: A Retrospective (Capricorn Link; $49.99) features 275
pages of images of Clint on both sides of the camera, as well as candid shots
ranging from the tall, outrageously good-looking youngster who was signed as
a Universal player in the 50s to today s craggy titan of moody cinema.
Through them, vital, submerged characteristics of the on-screen tough guy
become apparent in Eastwood s life. He s always been underestimated; when
it comes to playing smart or dumb he ll often choose dumb. He is reserved.
Wr y. Efficient. Capable. Principled. Adored by women. A piano player. Hell,
when they make the movie of Clint s life, who the hell s gonna play Clint? (My
money s on Josh Hartnett).
But this is a digression from the central issue. Sort of. Clint turned 80 in
May, but was still a tough guy as recently as 2008 s Gran Torino. The thing
is, he has been a constant through the tides of tough. While Bruce Willis and
Arnie were blasting and quipping ze bad guys to death in the 1980s and 90s,
Clint was making Heartbreak Ridge and Pale Rider.
As he s aged, it s his work as a director that has produced some of the most
compelling genre cinema of the last two decades: Unforgiven, Mystic River,
Million Dollar Baby, Letters From Iwo Jima and The Changeling. However
with Gran Torino probably the last tough guy role Clint will play, the original
question still stands: what constitutes tough in 2010?
Russell Crowe s three big bruiser roles -- Romper Stomper, LA Confidential
(in which he is astonishing) and Gladiator -- would all make him a prime
candidate. But he has a tendency now to concentrate on the heroic (Robin
Hood) or portly character stuff like Body of Evidence or State of Play.
WA s own Sam Worthington now seems to be the anointed one. His trilogy
of Terminator Salvation, Clash Of The Titans and Avatar show he has the requisite
qualities of stillness and explosiveness. Avatar director James Cameron put
Wortho on the map because he felt he was archetypal "old-school tough guy".
Wrestlers like The Rock and John Cena lack gravitas, just like Jean Claude
Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and the fantastically bad Steven Seagal did in
the1980s. So no dice there.
But it s a trick question. Want to know who the toughest "guy" on screen is
in 2010? An 11 year-old girl. For sheer potty-mouthed quipping, ass-kicking
vigilantism, Hit Girl from the gleefully black comedy Kick-Ass is without
doubt the Queen of the Tough Guys.
So maybe Adrian Brody is the right man for the job in Predators. He may appear
as terrifying as a packet of Smiths Crisps, but he s definitely a man of his time.
Unless we can clone Clint. sm
Daniel Murphy is the Deputy Editor of FHM. He is about as tough as wet sock in
a blender. (Please don t hit him -- especially you, Brody).
"HE IS RESERVED. WRY. EFFICIENT.
CAPABLE. PRINCIPLED. ADORED BY
WOMEN. A PIANO PLAYER. HELL..."
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