Clint Eastwood on ‘Jersey Boys’

JERSEY BOYS

Mr. Eastwood, what led you to decide to make Jersey Boys your next film?
CLINT EASTWOOD: It seemed like something to do. [Laughs] It’s funny because I hadn’t seen the play, but I had heard a lot about it over the years, and somebody said, ‘Would you be interested in doing that?’ And I said, ‘I’d certainly be interested in looking at it.’

So I read it and liked it very much, and then I went and saw three different versions of the play, in New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas. I saw all these wonderful actors and thought, ‘What a nice project to be doing.’ So I said, ‘Yeah.’

Mr. Eastwood, we have four very different stories about four very different people. What characteristics do you relate to most in each of The Four Seasons?
Well, I try to relate to the whole thing. I grew up in a neighbourhood and I went to a school which was about half Italian-Americans. I had a lot of friends in that community and it was a very friendly and fun era to be in.

With these four characters, a little bit has been touched on here, which is that you don’t forgive a lot of things. I mean, there are certain idiosyncrasies—when you get on the bad side, you’re on the bad side forever. I don’t know if that’s true nowadays, but there is sort of a historical feeling about that.

And then going over to New Jersey, Tommy DeVito has a street named after him and there’s a little bit of a culture thing going on still with those guys because of this play. There’s no street named after me in Oakland. [Laughs]

Mr. Eastwood, there’s a clever director cameo in the film. That moment reminded me that as The Four Seasons were trying to make their mark in the music industry, you were another young guy trying to make his mark in the entertainment industry.
You’re talking about my Hitchcock moment kind of thing? [Laughs] Yeah, well, that was actually Erich’s suggestion. We were sitting there talking about doing the scene where he’s going to be watching television, and he said, ‘I’ll be sitting there watching Rawhide, and I started thinking, ‘Yeah, it could be,’ because, after all, that was about the right timing. So I thought, ‘Maybe.’ Then I put it out of my mind. And then somebody who works for me, a woman who handles all our television stuff, just went ahead and did it. And afterwards I just said, ‘Okay, I’ll live with that.’ [Laughs]

It was at about the same time, 1959/60, that I did Rawhide. It was my first break after doing years of bit parts and unappealing roles. So it was a chance to gain a lot of experience and spend five or six years working with various directors and stuff before Sergio and Segal and all those guys.

Mr. Eastwood, any final thoughts on the project?
No, I’m just very lucky, and this little saying. I play a little golf once in a while and I always have that saying, ‘I’d rather be lucky than good.’ But I’ve just been very lucky by knowing these actors and watching them perform individually in different productions and then seeing them all together doing so great. At the time, you just go, ‘Okay, this is as good as it’s going to get for me.’ And if I can get that on every production—and I’ve had it on some, but not on others—if I could get a family together like this one has been, it’s very, very lucky.

Jersey Boys is available on Blu-ray and DVD from 10 November

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