Invisible Obama and Eastwood’s Epic Fail

No matter what your politics, Clint Eastwood talking to a chair was absurd. I’m not talking about what he said or the mismanagement of prime TV real estate by the […]

September 2, 2012 // Tracy Shaffer // No Comments //

No matter what your politics, Clint Eastwood talking to a chair was absurd. I’m not talking about what he said or the mismanagement of prime TV real estate by the RNC, but the fact that an actor of his magnitude went on stage in front of an audience of millions and millions of viewers totally off script is mind-boggling.
The common misconception about actors that we’re all extroverts who can spontaneously extrapolate on any subject at will, but the truth is most of us need a script. The beauty of the art form, and as a director Mr. Eastwood should know this, is that an actor has the ability to go deep into the ideas of the story, wrap themselves in the intricate details of a character and produce an effective rendering of truth from the point of view of his/her character. Of course there are times when improvisation is fitting, mostly in rehearsal. We’ve all heard the stories of the films where it has brought forth brilliant results. Why? Because the actor knows the script and is immersed in the role.
I have no doubt that Clint Eastwood’s personal beliefs are very close to those he brought to the Tampa stage and because he wasn’t in character, apparently he thought he could wing it. He could not. His “performance” showed this as he went “Every Which Way But Loose” cannon on the RNC. News reports say his decision to introduce the infamous chair (an old acting school exercise) was a request made in the wings minutes before he made his entrance. If that is so, it speaks to a grand lack of preparation on his part; can you imagine what he would do to an actor who showed up on his set with similar nonchalance?
As an American Icon, I expect more of Clint Eastwood. After decades creating indelible characters, infusing our lexicon and delivering film after film with precision as a brilliant director, I am disappointed that he missed the opportunity to make his points with the well-planned (and rehearsed), scripted and powerful speech he is capable of rather than the bumbling ramblings of doddering old man. Though our opinions may differ on many things, that is a speech I would have loved to have seen.
Note: Unless you are playing the role of Elwood P Dowd in “Harvey”, conversations with invisible friends is a bad idea. Oh, and someone please tell me Clint didn’t see anyone in that chair.


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