Clint Eastwood & Co.

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by Leonard Maltin
December 15, 2009 10:21 AM
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So how did I luck into a moment of serendipitous spontaneity with Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, and Morgan Freeman? Allow me to explain. As any media veteran will tell you, participating in movie press junkets...

is not a lot of fun. On the one hand, you get to spend a little time with the world’s most famous movie stars, as well as talented directors and filmmakers. On the other hand, you’re often forcibly reminded that you are merely one tiny cog in a giant machine, as these people are being led through a hundred or more interviews over a two or three-day stretch. Fortunately, Entertainment Tonight has enough clout to arrange for its own room at the junket hotel, so as a reporter you’re not being hustled in and out by someone with a stopwatch. The stars get a break from the confinement of their cocoon and, if you hit it off, they might open up for an extra

minute or two with you. And believe me, every minute counts in the world of junkets.

So there I was, having my allotted chat with Clint Eastwood. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with him over the years, and we have a nice relationship. That makes conversation easy. About ten minutes into our chat, my director gave me a “wrap it up” signal, and I waited for Clint to complete his answer before saying good-bye. Just then I heard some rustling behind me, and then a male voice called out, “Just stop talking!” It was Matt Damon, who had arrived with Morgan Freeman for their interview and couldn’t resist busting in on his Invictus director. Our cameras kept rolling as the two stars walked in and bantered for a few precious minutes. (Then I had my turn with Matt and Morgan, who were terrific—focused and articulate.) If you’d like to see how this all paid off, click HERE.

My daughter snapped pictures while all of this was happening, and afterwards we took a lot of deep breaths, drinking in the magical experience we’d just enjoyed. Then we took an elevator down to the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel...and ran into Peter Jackson. Some days you just get lucky.

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