Throwback Thursday: An Interview with Clint Eastwood


Originally written by Malaurie Barber, Editor-in-chief if the Spur (the Advocate in 1997

Sara Monterroso

Originally written by Malaurie Barber, Editor-in-chief if the Spur (the Advocate in 1997
Originally written by Malaurie Barber, Editor-in-chief if the Spur (the Advocate in 1997

Midnight in the Garden of Evil is produced and directed by Clint Eastwood. This film is an adaptation of John Berend’s best-selling novel about a murder trial which takes place in Savannah, Georgia. The film stars Kevin Spacey and John Cusack.

This is Eastwood’s twentieth film as a director, following recent box-office such as “Absolute Power,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” “A Perfect World,” and “Unforgiven.”

Clint Eastwood interview:

How did you decide to do this particular film?

“I read the script first because it was given to me by John Lee Hancock, who wrote “A Prefect World,” and he asked me to take a look at it as a favor because it wasn’t sure about the enthusiasm for the project within Warner Bros. I liked it very much and decided to do it myself, even though I never really saw a part that I would play. I liked it from a director’s eye.”

How did you interpret the characters and the location for this film?

“First of all I was fortunate to hire a very talented and affable group of people to play these characters, from Kevin Spacey and John Cusack to Jack Thompson, Lady Chablis, and my daughter Alison, among others. That made “Midnight”a very pleasant show to work o. The characters in both the book and the script are all kind of bizarre and wild, which makes it great fun to do a film like this. The location, Savannah, Georgia, is also a rather bizarre place.

The author of the book, John Berendt, chose a unique city with an unusual group of people who, in one way or another, become involved in a murder case the essence of that combination of elements in the film.”

What was it like to film in Savannah?

“It was different from any other city I’ve ever worked in, probably because of the groundwork laid by the book. In fact, I remember going by stores and seeing “The book for sale here,” and I’d think “The book,” well, we’re in the South, maybe that means “The Bible,” and then someone would say “No, no that’s our book,’Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.’ I thought that was a wonderful precedent for us. Savannah is a beautiful city, the texture of the place is very special and I hope we’ve done it justice in the film.”

What was it like directing your daughter?

Alison worked with me in the picture “Tightop,” when she was eleven years olf and she was splendid in that film. In the years since then she’s been working hard studying acting and appearing in plays around Los Angeles. I think she’s talented, and she is doing very well.”

Do you think your cast reflects the book’s characters?

“Yes I do very much so. Kevin Spacey is remarkable actor and for all intents and purposes he is Jim William in the film, no question about it. It is almost a little unnerving because he comes so absorbed into the role. John Cusack is young actor with great instincts and experience who gives the writer, John Kelso in our script, a wonderful king of ‘fish out water’ effect. He is a New Yorkers who becomes quite taken with Savannah and the events which unfold. I like the actors who have been cast for this film and I think they do a credible job. I hope the audience feels that way.”

Are you satisfied with the end result of this film?

“Yes, I am. It is different from anything I have ever done before. I also like it because it’s character driven and concentrates on a story rather than special effects or action. Not that I have anything against those kinds of films, but from a director’s point of view, this one was more interesting and more enjoyable.”