Clint Eastwood, in a slick red suit, opted for a bit of a history lesson from 50 years ago Thursday night as he introduced Warner Bros.’ “Jersey Boys” as the final film of the 20th Los Angeles Film Festival.
“I guess ‘A Fistful Of Dollars’ closed the Cannes Film Festival this year and now this film is gonna close this one,” he noted. “I hope we’re not setting a bad trend of closing theaters. But there’s a 50- year difference which I guess means if you hang around long enough good things can happen.”
Eastwood noted that he had selected the cast largely from the stage show, relying on their familiarity with the story and singing abilities.
“There are 50 unknown actors who are enormously thankful to Clint for this,” said Erich Bergen, who was in the first national tour. “Doing this was so much fun; Clint finished in under 40 days and the cast kept going to dinner with each other.”
John Lloyd Young, who won a 2006 Tony for the lead role in the Broadway musical, said after the screening that it had been a surreal experience. “When you’re on stage, you can boost the audience a bit; you can’t do that with a movie.”
Lloyd is releasing a record album soon and taking off for Iowa to impart his performance skills to students in Iowa Young as part of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
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Erica Piccininni, who played the original Lorraine role on Broadway, said she was most impressed by Eastwood’s light touch.
Festival director Stephanie Allain introduced Eastwood at the screening saying, “‘We are trying to build this festival into the world-class event L.A. deserves.”
(Pictured: Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, director Clint Eastwood, Erich Bergen and John Lloyd Young at the L.A. Film Festival closing night screening of “Jersey Boys”)