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Million Dollar Baby in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Million Dollar Baby

THE STARS:
Clint Eastwood • Hilary Swank • Morgan Freeman
DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood

Hilary Swank & Clint Eastwood THE CONCEPT:
Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) has trained and managed fighters all his life. After being estranged from his daughter, he has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a long time – that is, until Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank) walks into his gym with the determination to be a boxer.

U.S. RELEASE: December 15 2004, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

CLINT EASTWOOD:
“What interested me about Million Dollar Baby is the fact that it isn’t really a boxing story. It’s a love story about a person who is distressed about his non-existent relationship with his daughter, and who then finds a sort of surrogate daughter in this young girl who is dying to make her mark on the world as a boxer.”

HILARY SWANK:
“I’d never thought about boxing, except to wonder, ‘what is the thing about hitting someone and wanting to get hit?’ But when you dive into something deeper you gain respect for it because you learn about it in some different way than you ever would. Boxing 2 ½ hours a day, 6 days a week for 3 months was part of my training before I started filming. I learned that it’s so much more than anything physical, it’s such an unbelievable mental sport.”

MORGAN FREEMAN:
“The best fun you have in creating a character is in the costume department. My character, Scrap, doesn’t have much, so it was finding the hat; I always like to find the hat. And then props just dress the set. I happened to be reading a comic book while they were setting up, and I just didn’t put it down.”

EASTWOOD:
“Boxing plays an important role in the story, but this picture isn’t about boxing; it’s about human relationships. And there are some things that go unspoken in the film. Just as it was with Mystic River, the audience has to participate somewhat in deciding where the story goes after the film ends.”

SWANK:
“I love Clint. Everything you hear about him is true. I think when we make expectations, usually things can’t live up to them just because our imaginations are really powerful, but he exceeded them and then some. He creates an environment in which everyone feels comfortable. And, in his own words, he says he gets people he feels are right for the job, and he lets them do it.”

FREEMAN:
“You’d better know what you’re doing when you are on the set with Clint, because he’s not micromanaging. He’s got his hands on the picture; his hands are not on you. And I’m one of these actors that respond very well to that.”

SWANK:
“Clint is so moving in this movie. I just sit in awe. I think it just gives us all hope. He’s 74. I have a few years to catch up. You’ve seen this bravado, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.’ You’ve seen that side of Clint. And to see this vulnerable aging man in this movie is brave and courageous and stunning.”

FREEMAN:
“This movie isn’t about boxing. It’s about these people. Boxing is like a platform. It’s just a stage where this is played out.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Million Dollar Baby site
Images above © Warner Brothers Pictures
Feature © 2004 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #652, January 2005 cover

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