Directing Is Their Family Business: Clint Eastwood’s Daughter Alison Started In Front Of The Camera, Then Moved Behind It, Like Her Dad

By Rebecca Keegan
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Great Q&A with Alison Eastwood,daughter of legendary actor/director Clint Eastwood who is debuting her second feature as a director, a Mississippi-set drama called “Battlecreek.” The article includes a few words of wisdom from Father Eastwood who simply says “Whatever you do, do it well.”

LOS ANGELES

Few people can get away with teasing a man like his daughter can.

On a May afternoon, in a small office at his Malpaso Productions on the Warner Bros. lot, Clint Eastwood and his daughter Alison were discussing the 86-year-old director and actor’s career advice to his children.

“I just said, ‘Whatever you do, do it well,'” Clint said. “If you’re going to be a phone operator, be the best phone operator.”

“Phone operator was my backup career,” Alison said dryly, provoking an amused smile from her dad.

“I guess they don’t really have phone operators any more, do they?” Clint said.

Instead Alison, 44, entered the family trade. Her second feature as a director, a Mississippi-set drama called “Battlecreek,” recently played the Santa Barbara and Newport Film festivals. The movie, which does not have a distributor, is based on a script by Alison’s childhood friend Anthea Anka, the daughter of singer-songwriter Paul Anka, and stars Bill Skarsgard as a young man with a rare skin disorder that requires him to live his life at night.

Made for $1.5 million and backed by a solo, Texan financier named Michael G. Wallace, “Battlecreek” was a family affair in many respects. Alison’s older brother, Kyle, a jazz musician who lives in Europe, composed the score; her husband, sculptor Stacy Poitras, worked on the production design; some of her father’s longtime associates, such as editor Gary Roach, helped on the post-production.

The daughter of Clint’s first wife, Maggie Johnson, and one of his sprawling brood of eight children, Alison shares obvious qualities with her father, they’re both long-limbed and unpretentious, and they love animals. When she’s not making movies, Alison runs the Eastwood Ranch Foundation, which rescues animals from shelters. Clint, who hand-feeds the squirrels outside the Malpaso offices, briefly and excitedly interrupted the interview to show his daughter a picture of a baby possum that had recently shown up at his building.

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