Pretend you hear that ubiquitous movie announcer voice reading the next sentence aloud.
In a world where movies have gone to hell, special effects have taken over the big screen and many leading actors can easily be replaced by a younger counterpart, only a few iconic actors remain. Clint Eastwood is Dirty Harry Callahan.
Wasn’t that fun? No? Really…?
Anyway, the other night Clint Eastwood popped into my head and I realized that there simply was no one out there who could ever take his place. Not that anyone should take his place, but if there are ever any remakes (*shudder*) of the Dirty Harry films or any of the westerns he did, I can’t think of anyone who could do Clint or the character justice. Tangentially, Westerns seem to be dying off, which is really a shame. I’d love to see something in the vein of A Fistful of Dollars or Two Mules for Sister Sara, though the right lead is paramount. Sporadic attempts have been sprinkled over the last decade or two (Unforgiven, No Country for Old Men, Appaloosa and True Grit, among a few others), but there’s still not anyone with Eastwood’s versatile appeal out there. Heck, I think Clint and John Wayne are the only reasons I’ve ever seen a Western at all; Clint is that rare breed of star that pulls in just about every kind of audience, each for different reasons.Is there a current actor with that level of presence to carry on the genre? I don’t think so.
Say we put aside the Westerns for a moment, since there doesn’t seem to be a huge demand for them. Let’s focus on the Dirty Harry franchise—because certainly, there has been and likely will always be a market for badass cop films—why has no one attempted to take on this great character? I tried to come up with the likeliest candidates, but as you can see, they all fall short:
Pros: Surprising gravitas, raspy voice. Cons: Too short, more apt to play serial killer than the cop.
Pros: Looks good in a hat, can scowl. Cons: Harry didn’t wear a hat, not squinty enough, looks more like a Charles Bronson counterpart.
Pros: Can scowl and swagger. Cons: Too old, a little mush-mouthed, probably can’t run fast enough to chase criminals.
Pros: Has that calm/crazy demeanor thing down pat. Cons: Needs to completely drop the accent, often comes off slow and lumbering.
Pros: Scowl, stare, sly comedic/sarcastic abilities. Cons: Not quite tough enough; a little soft around the edges.
And so, my friends, the answer is simple: there is no next Clint Eastwood.
Go ahead, make Cindy Davis’s day…