Robert Lorenz makes directorial debut in ‘Trouble with the Curve’
by Davia L. Mosley
September 11, 2012 12:29 AM | 3360 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Amy Adams and Eastwood portray Mickey and Gus Lobel. Mickey is an Atlanta lawyer, and Gus is a scout for the Atlanta Braves.<br>Special/Keith Bernstein
Amy Adams and Eastwood portray Mickey and Gus Lobel. Mickey is an Atlanta lawyer, and Gus is a scout for the Atlanta Braves.
Special/Keith Bernstein
Clint Eastwood’s longtime producing partner Robert Lorenz has taken the plunge. After his work on films such as “Mystic River” and “Million Dollar Baby” and 20 years of working alongside Eastwood, Lorenz has decided to put on the director’s hat with “Trouble with the Curve.” With the screenplay written by newcomer Randy Brown and one of the main characters, Bo Gentry, being played by first-time actor Joe Massingill, Lorenz said this project was more of a welcome challenge than a risk.

“It felt good. That’s really what I got in the business to do — to direct,” he said. Lorenz began his career assistant directing and producing. “I was ready to do it. It felt good, and I liked it a lot.”

In “Trouble with the Curve,” Gus Lobel (Eastwood) is an aging baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves. His daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams) is an Atlanta lawyer who is working to make partner at her firm. Gus’ wife died when Mickey was 6. Father and daughter have a strained relationship, but considering the circumstances, they try to salvage what’s left.

In an attempt to help her stubborn father on what might be his last scouting job, the equally stubborn Mickey reluctantly accompanies her father to North Carolina to analyze Gentry, a high school baseball player with star power and potential to become a major player in the pros.

Even with their long history, Lorenz never expected Eastwood to be in any film he directed, especially the first. He said he’s grateful Eastwood took a chance by taking the role, but Lorenz prepared himself.

“Obviously he knows me well enough, and he was on board as a producer. If things went wacky, he could have stepped in and taken command. I knew that and that was a motivating thing,” he said. “I knew Clint’s instinct was to take over if things weren’t going well, so I was as prepared as I possibly could be.”

Lorenz said Eastwood loves directing, but roles for 82-year-old men are few and far in between. Although efforts were made to craft the role of Gus as a different character than Eastwood has played in the past, Lorenz acknowledged the fact that the Oscar winner is still the main draw.

“But ultimately, he’s Clint. That’s what people come to see,” Lorenz said.

Having Amy Adams portray Mickey was another perk, but casting the role of Johnny Flanagan was the most difficult, Lorenz said. It ultimately went to

Grammy and Emmy Award-winner Justin Timberlake.

“Justin didn’t occur to me at first, but his name came up and it all fit,” Lorenz said. “The role called for somebody who is really charming and likeable, and that’s what Justin is. He’s got such broad appeal. It seemed like such a natural fit.”

Georgia was also appealing. In addition to downtown Atlanta, cities such as Jasper, Dunwoody and Macon served as the backdrop for the film. Restaurants such as Two Urban Licks and Silver Skillet were also visible.

Lorenz said making “Curve” here was more pleasurable than in Los Angeles, where he lives. The “urban sophistication” of Atlanta was also part of the appeal.

“It was a little hotter, but for the most part I loved it. It was very refreshing — the people and their enthusiasm for filmmaking, which you don’t find that much of in L.A.,” Lorenz said. “People groan and roll their eyes when they see a movie truck coming through their neighborhood. I thought the talent pool for acting (in Atlanta) is particularly good.”

Another advantage to shooting in Georgia was the generosity of the Atlanta Braves. Turner Field is prominently on display, from the turf to the stands to the executive offices. Lorenz praised Braves president John Schuerholz for maintaining a stellar image of the Braves.

“I told him we had nothing but respect for the Braves and for baseball and that’s what we wanted to convey in the movie,” Lorenz said. “When he heard that, that was all he needed to hear. From then on, it was carte blanche.”

Lorenz was given access to shoot in the offices and stadium. The scouts also worked with Eastwood and others to maintain authenticity, something Lorenz said was important for actors and athletes.

“One flaw in the movie can unravel the whole thing. If the baseball looked silly, none of it was going to work,” he said. “I was very keen on making sure everybody was believable.”

Lorenz is looking forward to directing in the future, even if Eastwood isn’t in the lead role.

“Clint (has) taught me you have to approach things with confidence. When you’re directing, people are looking to you for leadership,” he said. “If you have self-doubt, people feel it. You’ve just got to go in like you know what you’re doing and plug away.”
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