“Trouble with the Curve” casts Clint Eastwood as an old-school baseball scout, who — even though he’s losing his eyesight — can find the best talent better than any young whippersnapper. In this case, that young hotshot is played by Justin Timberlake.
For director Robert Lorenz, “Trouble with the Curve” meant directing Eastwood, his frequent collaborator, for the first time — no simple task, as you might imagine. MTV News spoke with Lorenz as a part of our Fall Movie Preview, and he shed light on telling Eastwood what to do and how the screen icon got along with his younger co-star.
MTV News: You’ve been working with Clint for almost 20 years. What is it about him that has you coming back?
Robert Lorenz: He’s selected a lot of quality material over the years, so it’s hard to leave. He’s just a collaborative guy, so all of us that have been with him for a long time enjoy that. We all enjoy the creative process, and being able to take part in it is great fun. That’s not always the case with other directors.
MTV: You’ve never directed him before. Was there a dynamic shift once you took over?
Lorenz: We’re still friendly, but it was an interesting experience. It was a change. We were both challenged by it, him being directed by someone other than himself for the first time in a long time — almost 20 years — and my having to ask him to do things and direct him when he’s had this career and reputation that are so well known. It was a little intimidating. We got through it very well.
MTV: How does one give a note to Clint Eastwood?
Lorenz: Thankfully, because he’s a director, he and I both shared a view of what the film was and what the character was. There wasn’t a great deal of direction needed. It was a lot of technical stuff, describing the way I saw the scene. I direct him the way I’ve seen him direct others. Make a suggestion. You don’t necessarily have to make a command. If it works for them, they incorporate it, and if not, they don’t.
MTV: Was there a learning curve for Clint, just being an actor instead of actor-director?
Lorenz: Definitely. He had the confidence enough to let me direct it in the first place, but certainly in the first few days, he was assessing me constantly and deciding whether or not I could actually handle the reins. He became confident, it seemed to me, pretty quickly, and started to ask me, “What would you like me to do here?”
MTV: What was it like directing Justin as opposed to Clint?
Lorenz: Justin, being younger and not having as much experience, was definitely more interested in feedback and hashing out the scenes and the character and what was happening within each one, but he had great ideas that he brought to the film and his role, many of which I was happy to incorporate and made his role really come alive.
MTV: What was their rapport like on set?
Lorenz: Great. Clint was an easy sell. I went through my casting choices —I kind of ran them by Clint. Justin was somebody I liked. It was easy for Clint, because he’s been a fan of [Timberlake]. [Clint] has watched him on “Saturday Night Live” for years. He comes here into the office on Monday morning, laughing about what happened on “Saturday Night Live” the past weekend. I don’t think he’s familiar with the rest of his film work, but that much he was. He thought it was a terrific idea when I brought it up, and he went for it. On the set, he enjoyed Justin’s energy and his sense of humor.
“Trouble With the Curve” opens on September 21.