There’s a moment in a 1998 episode of The Simpsons in which Homer and Bart rent and eagerly prepare themselves for “the bloody mayhem and unholy carnage of Joshua Logan’s Paint Your Wagon.” (“With blood, I bet,” Homer predicts.) Bart and his father are then horrified when they discover that the real 1969 movie, which started Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin, was just a lot of singing and dancing.
Some of Clint Eastwood’s fans might have a similar reaction when they get a load of the director’s next project, the film adaption of the hit Broadway musical Jersey Boys, based on the music of the Four Seasons. But, while we’re far from Iwo Jima and Unforgiven, the choice does make some sense: Eastwood has specialized in period pictures, and the 83-year-old director knows the ’50s and ’60s in a way that many of today’s other directors don’t. Eastwood also knows music: He’s a composer and songwriter himself.
For fans of the musical, its biggest sources of appeal seem to be intact: the nostalgic charm of the songs (the trailer manages to pack in “Rag Doll,” “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Who Loves You,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”) and the performances of the singers (Broadway star John Lloyd Young will return as Frankie Valli, along with other stage stars and Boardwalk Empire’s Vincent Piazza). Christopher Walken plays Jersey mobster Gyp DeCarlo, and Eastwood brings back his familiar muted hues. Jersey Boys is set to come out June 20.