Who is Robert Lorenz and why does he get to tell Clint Eastwood what to do?
The quick answer: Lorenz recently made his directorial debut with “Trouble With the Curve,” a film opening this week starring Eastwood as Gus, an aging baseball scout.
The longer answer: Lorenz has known (and worked with) Eastwood for nearly two decades.
He started as a second assistant director on “The Bridges of Madison County,” moved up to first assistant director, and began producing with “Blood Work.”
“He just kept throwing more responsibility at me. And I was thrilled to have it because I wanted to learn,” says Lorenz, who recently visited The City to talk about his film.
“Trouble With the Curve” co-stars Amy Adams as Gus’ daughter, who is coerced into joining him on the road after it becomes apparent his sight is failing.
Adams is extraordinary, standing up to Eastwood onscreen and even crying for the first time in a movie.
“I’m a huge fan of hers. She’s scary,” says Lorenz with a grin.
If Adams was scary, Eastwood could be downright intimidating.
Lorenz says his usual duties — hiring the crew, scouting locations, etc. — came naturally, but in preparing his director’s shot list, he began obsessing over every detail: “I was concerned that if I hesitated, Clint would jump in there and start directing.”
But after a few days, Eastwood relaxed, Lorenz says.
“I just sensed him,” he says. “And then it became obvious because he started asking questions. I’ve been around him so long, I can feel his stare through the wall.”
Though Lorenz learned a lot from watching Eastwood direct, he did establish his own vision, in part by using brighter lighting, long lenses and a different kind of musical score.
Still, Lorenz wanted to make things as familiar as possible for Eastwood, including adopting the veteran director’s celebrated pacing and economy.
“I’ve seen the wisdom in his technique throughout the years,” Lorenz says. “He moves quickly to keep the momentum up for the actors and for the crew.”
Having Eastwood on the set has other advantages, too, such as the so-called “Malpaso Weather.”
“It doesn’t matter where we go or what we shoot, when it’s time, the skies open up,” he says. “He just gets what he wants. I think even the weather gods are afraid of Clint Eastwood.”