Posted on Thursday, May 1st, 2008 by Hunter Stephenson
All of us wily fans of highly unlikely action premises can let out a logical sigh, as MovieHole has received the official casting breakdown for Clint Eastwood‘s Gran Torino: a dirty, septuagenarian Harry Callahan is no where to be found. Dirty Harry 6 is back to being a daydream, but I’m sure Eastwood had a good laugh and perhaps gave a hmmmm into his lemonade. So, what is Gran Torino?
As previously rumored, it’s a “coming of age buddy comedy” between an old fart (Eastwood, no offense) who cherishes his titular muscle car and a young, troubled Asian kid who tries to steal said car to impress a gang. MovieHole draws careful comparisons to the tone and age juxtaposition of Eastwood’s soporific, underrated A Perfect World. It being my favorite film directed by Eastwood, that’s cool to hear, but I’m also getting Dannon Activia vibes off this. We’ve pasted the lengthy character rundown/synopsis after the jump because it contains spoilers. This November brings Eastwood’s latest directorial effort, Changeling, with Angelina Jolie and it’s riding particularly nice buzz.
Discuss: Would you rather see DH6 or Gran Torino based on the info here? And speaking of minors committing grand theft auto did you see this?
Producer: Clint Eastwood, Rob Lorenz, Bill Gerber
Director: Clint Eastwood
[TAO VANG LOR] A 15-19 year old Hmong (Southeast Asian) boy, Tao is slight, with long hair and long lashes, but he is very good looking, like an Asian Johnny Depp. His father is dead, and he lives in the house next door to Walt, a house full of women who disrespect him because he has no inner strength and resilience. A boy who would rather be a bookworm and be left alone, he’s pressured to join his cousin’s street gang, and he’s brutally humiliated when he tries to steal Walt’s Gran Torino. Intent on making amends to Walt, who has been befriended by his sister Sue, Tao works for Walt around the house for two weeks – and in the process, earns a smidgen of respect from Walt for his stoicism. Very protective of his family, and desperately in need of a male role model, Tao is pleasantly surprised when his odd friend pays him back for his labor – by helping Tao get both a job and a girlfriend. When Sue is raped by a pack of Hmong punks, Tao wants to get revenge – but Walt decides to carry that burden himself alone. HMONG LANGUAGE SKILLS A PLUSâ€¦LEAD (6)
[SUE] Tao’s younger sister, 15 – 19, Sue is smarter than her brother when it comes to social skills and emotional IQ. A charmer, expert at using her communication skills to build bridges, Sue is contemptuous of local gang recruiters, Spider and Smokie – but she views Walt with wary interest. All too aware that her brother could use a masculine influence in his life to teach him the basics, Sue gently nudges Walt and Tao together, hoping for the best, and quite pleased when Tao acquires both a father figure and a few much-needed callouses. But when the local gang decides to punish Walt for his aggressive insolence by kidnapping Sue and raping her, she fears that the two strong men in her life will die avenging her honor. HMONG LANGUAGE SKILLS A PLUSâ€¦LEAD (16)
[F Ashley and Josh. Treated with contempt by his father, who regards Mitch and his family as yuppie scum, Mitch returns the favor and then some, ducking his dad’s rare calls and not realizing that when Walt asserts that everything at home is “fine,” that he’s a bald-faced liar. He shuts Walt out of his life completely after Walt refuses to go into a homeâ€¦LEAD (1)
[PHONG] The grandmother of Tao and Sue, Phong speaks only in her native language of Hmong. Utterly contemptuous of Tao because he’s bullied by the women in the house, Phong has an active, blistering hatred for Walt, the “stupid, hairy white man” who lives next door. A woman who chews betel juice and spits at Walt whenever he comes into view, Phong is outraged when Sue invites him to the house. Protective of her grandchildren in spite of her caustic manner (which precisely mirrors Walt’s), she knows something is drastically wrong when Walt asks her to care for his ancient dog. MUST SPEAK HMONGâ€¦LEAD (9)
[SMOKIE] The 18 – 20 year old leader of a local gang of Hmong teenagers, Smokie intervenes when he sees Tao being bullied by some black kids, and tries to talk Tao into joining the gang. But Tao’s initiation (stealing Walt’s Gran Torino) is a botched disaster, and he’s furious when Tao backs out of the gang. Believing he’s being disrespected, Smokie is intent on punishing both Walt and Tao, and he begins a war of nerves that quickly escalates. When he opts to strafe Tao’s home and rape his sister Sue, it’s a declaration of war that Walt intends to answer aloneâ€¦LEAD (14)
[VU] The mother of Tao and Sue, this 40s – 50s Asian woman speaks only in her native language of Hmong. She is profoundly grateful to Walt from intervening when her son is threatened by Smokie. MUST SPEAK HMONGâ€¦ several scenes (27)
[KOR SHUE] This old Hmong man is a shaman, who only speaks in his native language of Hmong, and who asks to give a reading of Walt’s character. His reading is painfully close to the bone. MUST SPEAK HMONGâ€¦1 speech & 1 line, 1 scene (49)
STORY LINE: Walt Kowalski is a widower, a grumpy, tough-minded, borderline-hateful, unhappy man who can’t get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in cherry condition. Drawn against his will into the lives of the Hmong family that lives next door to him, Walt grows increasingly fond of TAO and his sister SUE, and takes steps to protect them from the gangs that foul his neighborhood with their strutting presenceâ€¦