CARMEL BY-THE-SEA, Calif. Still basking in the light reflected from the Oscar he won for directing this year’s best movie, Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood told reporters yesterday that he has signed with Miramax films to direct and star in a remake of Grease.
“Grease is the word,” said Eastwood, who revealed that he will begin filming this fall in the Sunrise Acres nursing home in Los Angeles. In addition to directing and starring in “a darker, more brooding version” of the 1978 classic that featured John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, Eastwood will write the score for the film and design the type font for the screen credits.
Described as a going-of-age film, Grease will star Eastwood as Daniel Zuko, the gruff, conservative leader of the T-Bills, a right-wing gang that dominates the social scene at Sunrise Acres. On a bus trip to Wal-Mart, Daniel, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, meets Sandra Olsson, played by Betty White.
Sandra, who has Parkinson’s disease, lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her son and his second wife. The three of them are vacationing in Los Angeles. Sandra and Daniel meet in the pharmaceuticals section of Wal-Mart, where they have a spirited discussion of the merits of laxatives with stool softeners versus laxatives without. Despite their deep-seated disagreement—Daniel says that people who use laxatives with stool softeners are morally bankrupt while Sandra says that people who don’t use them are tight-assed reactionaries—they fall in love, and Sandra is distraught when her children tell her it’s time to return to their hotel.
Slow forward six months. Daniel is leading the T-bills in wheelchair calisthenics when a nurse brings a new resident, Sandra, into the room. She has been put in Sunrise Acres by her son, following his transfer to the Los Angeles area.
Daniel vaguely remembers Sandra, but when he notices her Better Dead than Red sweatshirt, on which is printed a map of the United States with only the blue states in color, he pretends he’s never met her.
“Girlie, if you believe that sort of nonsense, you probably use a laxative with stool softener,” he grumbles.
According to Eastwood, the remainder of Grease “pretty much follows the original plot with Sandra trying to convince Daniel that she can fit in with the T-bills. She joins a radical conservative group called Q-tips for a Free America, and she leads a movement to require the recitation of the pledge of allegiance before all bingo games.”
Eastwood declined to reveal the film’s ending—”I don’t want Rush Limbaugh on my ass again”—but a source close to White says, “It’s depressing as hell. Everyone winds up on life support in intensive care units.”
In related news, Martin Scorsese told reporters that he plans to edit “that loser Leonardo DiCaprio” out of The Departed before its release next year.