On the road to Madison: why Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep hesitated to make the film? – CineSeries

In 1995, Clint Eastwood produced one of his finest films with “On the Road to Madison”. A project in which the filmmaker hesitates to participate, in the same way as his on-screen partner Meryl Streep.

On the road to Madison : impossible love according to Clint Eastwood

After bidding farewell to the western with Ruthless and staged a road movie poignant with A perfect world, Clint Eastwood signs another moving film. With On the road to Madisonreleased in 1995, the director looks at an impossible new romance after Breezy.

In this feature film, the filmmaker and actor lends his features to Robert Kincaid. One day in the summer of 1965, this photographer stops near the home of Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) to ask her the road to the covered bridges of Madison County, which he is responsible for immortalizing for the National Geographic. She agrees to guide him and very quickly, they fall in love with each other. A unique and unexpected love that lasts for four daysbut that they both know are doomed, since Francesca is not ready to leave her family.

On the road to Madison ©Warner Bros.

For years, several directors have considered transposing Richard LaGravenese’s script to the screen (PS I Love You), based on the eponymous novel by Robert James Waller and published in 1992. Steven Spielberg, Sydney Pollack and Bruce Beresford succeeded each other before the arrival of Clint Eastwood at the helm of the film.

A novel not convincing enough

In 1995, Entertainment Weekly reports that the scenario of On the road to Madison almost fell into Hollywood limbo projects in development. Already involved as a main actor, Clint Eastwood assures Terry Semel, head of Warner Bros., that the feature film risks falling through. The director of the studio then offers him to direct it. The star asks him for 24 hours to give him his answer. She boards a jet heading to Madison County to do some scouting, and calls Terry Semel right away to confirm that she accepts.

However, as he reveals during a masterclass organized at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, Clint Eastwood is reluctant to work on the project. The reason ? He is not really convinced by the book by Robert James Waller. He therefore decides to make changes to the story. The filmmaker considers the book to be “a man’s story” and believes that the film would be much stronger if it adopted Francesca’s point of view.

The director then contacts Meryl Streep to offer him the role, but she claims that she did not enjoy the novel either. Clint Eastwood nevertheless succeeded in persuading her by telling her of his contributions. The filmmaker therefore makes his film as he sees fit, not bothering with the writer’s opinion. According to Entertainment Weekly, Robert James Waller would have never exchanged with the star during the design of On the road to Madisonbut would have “loved the movie” anyway.

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On the road to Madison: why Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep hesitated to make the film? – CineSeries