Director-Clint EastwoodEditBorn in 1930 in San Francisco, Clint Eastwood grew up in a working class family who moved often. He entered the draft in 1951 for the Korean War and became stationed in California as a lifeguard. He rode in a bomber when it unexpectadly ran out of fuel and had to make a crash landing causing the pilot and him to swim three miles to shore. Maybe it was his lack of true war expereience that has inspired his violent movies and fighter protagonists. Clint Eastwood's acting career started in 1961 as an actor in the television series Rawhide . He continues to have a successful acting career and has directed over thirty movies. Clint Eastwood's movies tend to have low budgets and filming times because he believes that scenes should only be filmed once to capture a genuine feel. He tries to avoid actor rehearsals for the same reason. In order for the audience to capture the true identity of the character, actors in his films do not have much background on the characters so the audience can use their own imagination. Lighting is commonly low-key and black and white. Eastwood likes to explore ethnic groups and moral perspectives in his work to face ideas of suicide, justice, and mercy. In his 2008 film Gran Torino , Eastwood plays a hardened retired widow in a bad Detroit neighborhood who is conflicting with the changing neighborhood around him. The neighborhood is being populated by Laos immigrants who have increasing gang violence. Eastwood's character learns to understand and respect the foreign culture and be comfortable with different people. In Million Dollar Baby, Eastwood plays a man his own age who he could easily relate to. His character has his regrets about life and is getting close to the end of it. He explores the American working class in this film who are willing to work extremely hard to get where they want.
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1974, Hilary Swank spend most of her early years living in a trailer park in Washington. At fifteen her parents divorced and her sister, mother, and her moved to Los Angeles so her sister could pursuit acting. Hilary never would have thought she would be the one who would become famous. Living in Los Angeles growing up, the three of them would be living out of their car until they could afford an apartment. Perhaps, it was this rough childhood that made it so natural for Hilary Swank to play this role. She never graduated high school in order to become an actress. Swank's character, Maggie Fitzgerald, is a poor waitress wanting to move on in her life and make more money. She begins training at Frankie Dunn's(Clint Eastwood) gym although Frankie is reluctant at first because she is a girl. Once Maggie begins to make money, her mother and family try to connect with her so she could give them money. This situation sounds like something that easily could have happened in Swank's life. Maggie's father is not around in this film just like in real life. Instead, Frankie takes the role of her father in the film, and she becomes the daughter he never had. Becoming old, this opportunity gives Frankie a chance to make up for his life regrets and create a strong relationship with his new daughter. Hilary Swank's personal struggles with her parents in real life translate perfectly into her character in the film.
Actor Morgan Freeman was born in Memphis, Tennessee 75 years ago to a teacher and a barber. When he was a baby, he was sent to live with his grandmother in Charleston, Mississippi. He was made to move around a lot as a child and he finally ended up in Chicago, Illinois. In school, he was involved in school and city plays as well as local radio broadcasts. After high school, he was offered a partial theatre scholarship to Jackson State University but he turned it down to join the Air Force.
After the Air Force, Morgan split time in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. He did all sorts of things from dancing, took acting classes, worked as a transcript clerk, and acted in theatre productions. He finally landed his first big role as an actor in the hit TV series The Electric Company. It was finally in this movie where he received his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Morgan Freeman has denied being a "man of God" and says that faith is just believing that something is true. We have faith that something is true until it is disproven. Unlike Eastwood and his religious themes, Freeman has not had much experience with the church and religion.
His experience in film and older age make him a perfect actor for his role in the film. His character is a lonely coach who lives in the gym's back room. He is able to keep Clint Eastwood's character Frankie in line and gives him advice. Their characters play off each other very naturally and work well as a team.
It was hard for the film to become picked up by many studios including Warner Brothers , whom Eastwood had worked on many films with. Eventually Lakeshore Entertainment and Warner Brothers together put a 30 million dollar budget for the film. The majority of this film was filmed in the Hollywood Athletic Club in Hollywood, California as well as Warner Brothers sets. The Hollywood Athletic Club is a very famous building in Hollywood that was built back in the mid 1920's. Notable events like the first Emmy Awards have taken place here and hundreds of celebrities have walked through its front door. Since Eastwood had such a natural directing and acting style, it only took 40 days to film in the summer of 2004. The screenplay was written by Paul Haggis but the idea of the story came from short stories written by F.X. Toole . The pen name F.X. Toole was for a former boxing manager and"cutman" named Jerry Boyd . The stories were originally released under the name Rope Burns but since the film they have been changed to Million Dollar Baby. Clint Eastwood and the other actors had no boxing experience before this film. In order to prepare for the role, Clint Eastwood put Hilary Swank on an intensive three month workout program that built body mass so she looked the part. The film was released on January 28th 2005 and grossed over 216.7 million dollars.
Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) appeared as a stubborn boxing trainer who refused to work with anyone who might lose a fight. When Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) walked into the door asking Frankie to train her, she showed determination but was not convincing enough for him. Even though she was rejected at first, she never gave up on her dream and worked relentlessly to show she had what it took. In this symbolic scene, Maggie is fighting under the coach Mickey Mack (Bruce MacVittie ) in her first real fight. Seeing how hard Maggie had worked to get to where she was now, Frankie could not help but watch the fight.
It pains him to watch Maggie make mistake after mistake as she is threatened with defeat. He tries to contribute as much advice as he can in between rounds. Ultimately, Frankie accepts Maggie as his fighter and tells Mickey, his rival, to hit the road. Keeping in mind the advice Frankie had given her, Maggie is able to knockout her opponent and claim her first victory. This victory established a new fighter-coach partnership neither of them had ever experienced. Frankie had to go against anything he thought about her and believe that she could win. Since Frankie was getting near the end of his coaching days, this appeared to be his one chance to really take a risk on a fighter and do something he would not regret later on. The new partnership they had created would take Maggie places she had only dreamed of and help Frankie in ways he never expected. This scene also opens up the door for Frankie to take Maggie under his wing like the daughter he never had and could really love her. Frankie had no family and needed someone to love and seeing Maggie come from a terrible family, he wanted to help her. Her family were just lazy hillbillys who just wanted her money and although she could not see that at first, Frankie could so he wanted to protect her. The lighting in this scene, like a lot of other fight scenes, has all the light all on the fight. Everyone in the crowd is sitting in the darkness watching the struggle in the ring.
In Clint Eastwood's films Million-Dollar Baby and Gran Torino , religion is a very complicated subject addressed. Clint Eastwood grew up in a Catholic home but does not express him religion much. In his films, one would be able to see that he has some issues with the Catholic church and faith in general.
In Gran Torino, Eastwood plays a newly widowed man who is having to deal with the church and its young priest (Christopher Carley ) after his wife's death. He always would go to church because his wife wanted to but now that she has died, he stopped going. Against his will, the young priest checks in on him often and they begin to develop a relationship. His stubborn attitude against the church and the priest slowly dissappears as he is able to befriend the priest. Once Clint gives the church a chance, he begins to actually accept the religion and try to reconnect with God. Clint's attitude is clearly shown about the church in this film but hopefully he can begin make the connection between church and life.
In Million Dollar Baby, Eastwood is found playing a very similar character who is bitter and alone in life. In this film however, when presented with tragedy, he is able to turn to the church for comfort. Eastwood's character Frankie Dunn can be seen praying in a pew as he deals with sorrow. His character now can submit to God and let go of all his stubborness and pain. Perhaps it was Maggie's love that allowed Frankie to feel free and try to be serious about his religion. He cannot take care of her with his power alone, so he begins to turn to what he has always known and ignored for healing and strength. Now that Clint Eastwood is getting old and inevitably will have to start dealing with death, he thinks now is a good time to get right with God. By showing his issues with religion in his films and working through them, he may be able to find peace with God.
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