Francesca Eastwood On ‘M.F.A.,’ SXSW, Sexual Assault, Dad Clint Eastwood [VIDEO EXCLUSIVE]
Actress Francesca Eastwood, daughter of Clint Eastwood, found a script that deeply resonated with her in the rape revenge film M.F.A. Directed by Natalia Leite, the movie stars Eastwood as Noelle in a visual arts student in an M.F.A. program. Noelle gets entangled with classmate Luke (Peter Vack). After Noelle is assaulted by Luke, she attempts to report the crime to her school, but realizes to her disappointment that the institution won’t do anything to aid her. After accidentally killing Luke, Noelle seeks to avenge college girls whose attackers have walked free.
On her first read of the script, Eastwood, 23, was immediately captured by it. “I loved the script. When I sat down, I was just going to skim it, and see what the gist was, and I ended up reading it page to page, and got through it in record time,” Eastwood told uInterview exclusively. “I was just in love. And I was like, I have to be part of this story.”
Eastwood divulged that playing the role was not without its challenges. “I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t some fear and some nervousness, even now, there’s some nervousness. But I”m very glad that it was made,” she said. “I trusted Leah and I trusted Natalia, their knowledge and creativity, and I’m very glad that I did.”
Understandably, the most challenging part of the film was acting out the assault scene. “It was very vulnerable and emotional, but there’s a clear intent and a reason to do it,” the actress said.
Have her parents – Clint Eastwood and actress Frances Fisher – seen it yet? “My mom just saw it, my dad hasn’t seen it,” she revealed.
Eastwood had her own personal motivations for participating in the film. “I felt an obligation and a pressure to push myself to do the best job that I possibly could,” she explained. “I felt like it was a responsibility to give it a hundred percent just because I’ve been through something. Everyone on the project has a very personal reason that they’re doing it.”
M.F.A. premiered in the Narrative Feature Competition section at the SXSW Film Festival on March 13, 2017, to general acclaim.
I loved the script. When I sat down, I was just going to skim it, and see what the gist was, and I ended up reading it page to page, and got through it in record time. And I reread it over and over again. And I was just in love. And I was like, I have to be part of this story.
I'd be lying if I said that there wasn't some fear and some nervousness, even now, there's some nervousness. But I"m very glad that it was made. I trusted Leah and I trusted Natalia, their knowledge and creativity, and I'm very glad that I did.
When you meet the character, she's already struggling with very typical things, like finding out who you are and where you are in life, and she's struggling with artistic inspiration. And so this horrible event happens, and she finds a way to heal her trauma through her art. And I think that that's something I believe that art can be, and there's a couple different shifts
I had committed to it, so there wasn't hesitancy, but it was very vulnerable and emotional, but there's a clear intent and a reason to do it.
Those are just the stories I'm drawn to, I think. And I think they're rare but the first film I did, it was a western and there was a female protagonist at the end and that was very unexpected and so this falls into breaking the mold of female characters that I've seen and it just felt like a very real and honest story, but also fun.
My mom just saw it, my dad hasn't seen it. It was funny because we ended up, one of the girls, Jordan, who was working on the film. She was going to school and working on it. Such a passion project for everyone. She told me that she gets her work ethic from her dad. And that's something that I really love about my dad too, is his work ethic. She said that her dad became a cop because of Dirty Harry. And so he's actually in the movie. All the cops in the end, they're all real cops, and they all came down and really arrested. So that was really cool.
I felt an obligation and a pressure to push myself to do the best job that I possibly could. And I felt like it was a responsibility to give it a hundred percent just because I've been through something. Everyone on the project has a very personal reason that they're doing it.