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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Clint Eastwood makes his own sweet 'Hereafter'

September 18, 2009 |  1:05 pm

Eastwood Yes, it's true, he is the hardest-working man in showbiz.

Even though he made two movies last year and already has another one -- "Invictus" -- coming later this fall, Clint Eastwood isn't resting on his laurels. According to this post from Variety, the 79-year-old filmmaker is gearing up for another film, a supernatural thriller called "Hereafter" that will start shooting later this year with Matt Damon in the leading role. Damon is also a costar of "Invictus," due out in December, which is based on a true-life account of how Nelson Mandela teamed up with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite the country.

But for me, the other fascinating element in the story is that the thriller was written by Peter Morgan, best known for his screenwriting success with such classy, Oscar-nominated fare as "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon." You might say Morgan is the hardest-working screenwriter in Hollywood right now, since in addition to "Hereafter," Morgan has been at work on a number of other projects. They include the next Daniel Craig-starring Bond movie -- No. 23 if you're keeping count -- which is tentatively slated for a 2011 release, and an adaptation of John le Carre's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier,  Spy," which is in development at Working Title with Tomas Alfredson attached to direct. He's also writing a third installment in his series of films involving Tony Blair, this one involving Blair's special relationship with Bill Clinton.

If you need a quick fix of Morgan's slyly clever dialogue, go see "The Damned United," a movie he wrote about Brian Clough, a legendarily egomaniacal British soccer coach who assembled an astounding array of successful soccer clubs in the late 1960s and 1970s. Clough is played by Michael Sheen, who apparently has first refusal on all Morgan scripts, having played Blair in the Morgan-penned "The Queen" and "The Deal" as well as handling the role of David Frost in "Frost/Nixon." 

"The Damned United," which opens here next month, may be a hard sell for American audiences, since no one on this side of the pond is familiar with Clough (if you're a baseball fan, try to imagine him as the Billy Martin of '70's English soccer). But having seen the film, I recommend it as a marvelous portrait of a man who lives to win -- at all costs.  

Here's a look at Sheen's work in "The Damned United":

Photo of Clint Eastwood by Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times.

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