Clint Eastwood Shows His Grit in “Gran Torino”

0 Submitted by on Mon, 08 December 2008, 22:25

Clint Eastwood directs and stars in the drama “Gran Torino,” marking his first film role since his Oscar®-winning film “Million Dollar Baby.” Eastwood portrays Walt Kowalski, an iron-willed and inflexible Korean War veteran living in a changing world, who is forced by his immigrant neighbors to confront his own long-held prejudices.

Retired auto worker Walt Kowalski fills his days with home repair, beer and monthly trips to the barber. Though his late wife’s final wish was for him to take confession, for Walt–an embittered veteran of the Korean War who keeps his M-1 rifle cleaned and ready–there’s nothing to confess. And no one he trusts enough to confess to other than his dog, Daisy.

The people he once called his neighbors have all moved or passed away, replaced by Hmong immigrants, from Southeast Asia, he despises. Resentful of virtually everything he sees–the drooping eaves, overgrown lawns and the foreign faces surrounding him; the aimless gangs of Hmong, Latino and African American teenagers who all think the neighborhood belongs to them; the callow strangers his children have grown up to be–Walt is just waiting out the rest of his life. 

Until the night someone tries to steal his `72 Gran Torino.

Still gleaming as it did the day Walt himself helped roll it off the assembly line decades ago, the Gran Torino brings his shy teenaged neighbor Thao (Bee Vang) into his life when Hmong gangbangers pressure the boy into trying to steal it. 

But Walt stands in the way of both the heist and the gang, making him the reluctant hero of the neighborhood–especially to Thao’s mother and older sister, Sue (Ahney Her), who insist that Thao work for Walt as a way to make amends. Though he initially wants nothing to do with these people, Walt eventually gives in and puts the boy to work fixing up the neighborhood, setting into motion an unlikely friendship that will change both their lives.

Through Thao and his family’s unrelenting kindness, Walt eventually comes to understand certain truths about the people next door. And about himself. These people–provincial refugees from a cruel past–have more in common with Walt than he has with his own family, and reveal to him parts of his soul that have been walled off since the war…like the Gran Torino preserved in the shadows of his garage.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Double Nickel Entertainment, a Malpaso Production, “Gran Torino.” The film is directed by Clint Eastwood from a screenplay by Nick Schenk, story by Dave Johannson & Nick Schenk. Eastwood, Robert Lorenz and Bill Gerber are the producers, with Jenette Kahn, Adam Richman, Tim Moore and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers. The film stars Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley, John Carroll Lynch, Brian Haley, Geraldine Hughes, Brian Howe and William Hill.

The creative behind-the-scenes team is led by Eastwood’s longtime collaborators: director of photography Tom Stern, production designer James J. Murakami, editors Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, and costume designer Deborah Hopper. The music is by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens, orchestrated and conducted by Lennie Niehaus. 

“Gran Torino” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

The film has been rated R by the MPAA for “language throughout and some violence.”

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