There are stars whose efforts to hold on to their youth probably involve ritual animal sacrifice — and then there are stars who invite old age in and roll it quizzically around between their fingers like a weathered cigarillo. So, yes, Clint Eastwood, at 71, is playing the echt?Clint Eastwood role of an FBI man chasing a deranged murderer. Except that his Terry McCaleb is a retired FBI profiler who’s just had a heart transplant and who breaks up the breakneck action-film pace every so often to get a checkup.
”It’s another obstacle,” shrugs the star-producer-director of his hero’s condition. ”It makes him more human and more real.” The plot gets weirder, though: McCaleb is hired to track the murderer of the woman whose heart now ticks in his chest and, as he investigates the crime, he comes to realize that what appears to be an isolated incident may have been the work of a serial killer he’s trailed for years.
Eastwood snapped up the book by Michael Connelly (best known for his series of novels about LAPD detective Harry Bosch) before it was even published, bumping the main character’s age up from a spry fortysomething to match his own. ”[Connelly’s] a good writer who tells a good story with interesting people,” notes Eastwood. ”Those are separate elements that don’t often come together.” Daniels (”Dumb and Dumber”) plays McCaleb’s deadbeat boating buddy while De Jesus (”Flawless”) plays the dead woman’s sister and McCaleb’s love interest — and lest you think that means the star is invested in shoring up his macho image, note that Huston has been cast as McCaleb’s…cardiologist. Still, touchy-feely this ain’t: ”Blood Work” may be a literal affair of the heart, but Eastwood knows what makes an Eastwood film tick. ”This isn’t about how feelings evolve,” he says. ”It’s about justice in an unusual set of circumstances.”