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Eastwood's selection makes actor Michael Kelly's day

FALL SNEAKS / THE ACTORS

September 07, 2008|Susan King

Actor Michael Kelly admits he's been spoiled by working for Clint Eastwood on the Oscar-winning director's latest film, “Changeling.”

"It makes going back to work on any other job really difficult -- and I mean that," Kelly says. "I am doing J.J. Abrams' new show, ‘Fringe,’ and we've had 14-hour days. Oh, God, what I wouldn't give [to hear] Clint say after one take, 'That's great. We're moving on.' "

"Changeling," which opens Oct. 24 and received warm notices at the Cannes Film Festival, is set in 1928 Los Angeles and is based upon the Wineville Chicken Murders. Angelina Jolie plays a single mother of a young boy who is kidnapped. Several months after his disappearance, the police department returns her son, but she doesn't believe the boy is her child. Kelly plays Det. Lester Ybarra, the only police officer on the case who believes Jolie.

"It's a very corrupt LAPD at the time," he says. "I am the guy who goes against the force."

Kelly was in Africa making the HBO miniseries "Generation Kill" when he learned Eastwood had liked his taped audition and wanted him for the role. But it wouldn't be a firm offer until he cleared his schedule on "Generation Kill."

Luckily for him, the producers and HBO agreed to work out something to free him up and let him rack up the frequent flier miles. "I went back and forth [from Africa to L.A.] a few times," Kelly says.

So what was it like working with Eastwood? Did Kelly play it cool? Kelly confesses he probably had the "biggest, silliest grin" when he met Eastwood on the first day of shooting. "I said, 'What do you want me to call you?' He said, 'You can call me Clint . . . or you can call me Boss. Everybody pretty much calls me Boss.' "

-- Susan King

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