‘Garden’-Variety crooner

Singers want to act. Actors want to direct. And director Clint Eastwood wants to sing.

The gravelly voiced tough guy will warble the Johnny Mercer-penned “Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive.” on the soundtrack to the Warner Bros. film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

Eastwood joins k.d. lang, Paula Cole and Alison Krauss as artists performing on the soundtrack to the pic that stars Kevin Spacey, John Cusack and Eastwood’s daughter Alison. Lang’s version of “Skylark” is being promoted to radio and will be used to tout the disc’s Nov. 18 arrival.

The younger Eastwood and Spacey take a cue from the pic’s helmer, also providing tunes for the disc, which will be released on Eastwood’s Malpaso Records imprint and marketed by Warner Bros. Records.

The disc is the brainchild of Warner Bros. Jazz chief Matt Pierson, who along with Eastwood produced the “Midnight” album.

All the tracks are newly produced versions of Mercer nuggets. His music plays an important role in John Berendt’s fact-based story of a murder in Savannah. John Lee Hancock adapted the bestselling book into a screenplay. The pic, which was produced by Arnold Stiefel and Eastwood, opens Nov. 21. “These are amazing songs performed by some of the best vocalists on the planet, that also help tell the story,” Pierson told Daily Variety. “And through the Eastwood and Spacey performances, we’re showing a cool, campy side of Mercer that most people aren’t familiar with. But even without a film, this is a record than stands on its own.”

Eastwood was asked by Pierson to perform the tune, as the helmer’s name had been on Pierson’s artist wish list. “I was shocked when he said he’d do it,” Pierson said, who noted it was Eastwood who asked Spacey to perform on the disc.

Spacey performs “That Ol’ Black Magic” and Eastwood also sings “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

Neither track, however, will be used in the film. “Clint didn’t want the audience to be distracted. He prefers to include music that aids the story,” Pierson said. “And because they’ve both got such distinctive voices, Clint was concerned audiences would focus on the songs and not the film’s story.”

Eastwood is no stranger to singing in films. He sang in Paramount’s “Paint Your Wagon”; in WB’s “Honkytonk Man,” he portrayed a Depression-era crooner; and in “Bronco Billy,” he duetted with Merle Haggard. He also offered a little ditty in Columbia’s “In the Line of Fire” as a Secret Service agent who relaxes by playing the piano at a local hangout.

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