While his skills as an actor and director are quite familiar and widely celebrated, Clint Eastwood coolly flexes one of his lesser-known talents in the 1993 action thriller In the Line of Fire. In the movie, Eastwood plays former Social Security Agent Frank Horrigan, a man tormented by the guilt of failing to protect John F. Kennedy on the day of the president’s assassination. Despite his grief and guilt, Horrigan is led to pick himself up by his bootstraps to thwart a rogue former CIA agent who has plans to murder both him and the current President of the United States.
In the Line of Fire’s premise is punchy and packed with action, yet Eastwood inserts a touch of whimsy into the overall film with a hidden talent he showcases in a cursory scene. In the Line of Fire was Eastwood’s last great action movie, and while it cuts his lesser-known gift short, the rest of the film lays the groundwork for him to deliver one of the most thrilling performances of his career. Eastwood is best known for his acclaimed acting abilities, and his compelling role in the movie is just one of many fantastic performances that overshadow his other talents.
Clint Eastwood Really Played The Piano In In The Line Of Fire
At one point in In the Line of Fire, Clint Eastwood’s Agent Horrigan is relieved from his shift and takes the opportunity to schmooze Secret Service Agent and co-worker Lilly Raines (Rene Russo). Agent Raines is professional in her demeanor toward Horrigan but eventually gives in to his invitation to a bar he’s heard has “a hell of a piano player.” It turns out, Eastwood’s character is not only a hardened agent in service to his country but also an expert flirt, as the piano man at the bar turns out to be none other than himself.
As confirmed by Entertainment Weekly, the moment in question occurs in “the third bar scene, in which Eastwood plays for costar Rene Russo,” and Horrigan attempts to kiss Agent Raines. Although Horrigan fails horribly to convince Agent Raines to take their relationship to a new level, Eastwood succeeds in expertly playing the piano through most of the exchange and even ends the scene with a confident rendition of the Casablanca-featured jazz song, “As Time Goes By.” Eastwood’s In the Line of Fire instrumental moment may shock audiences, but his aptitutde for music is far more developed than the fleeting two-minute scene lets on.
Clint Eastwood Actually Has An Extensive Music Career (Not Just Acting)
Clint Eastwood boasts a musical career that dates back to the ’50s. A stint in the military and an early ’50s acting debut obstructed his musical career path, but by 1959, Eastwood produced the Cameo label country album Cowboy Favorites, with notable renditions of Cole Porter’s “Don’t Fence Me In” and Bob Wills’s “San Antonio Rose.” The actor’s affinity toward country music won’t surprise audiences aware of how many Westerns Eastwood starred in, yet many are unaware of his fondness for and great skill in the jazz, bebop, blues, and classical genres as well.
In 1995, Clint Eastwood created Malpaso Records, and it has released all of his film scores and soundtracks since his role in The Bridges of Madison County. Fans may notice jazz, blues, country and western influences, and more in his acting catalog, as evidence of his composition, writing, and performance skills have found their way into most of his onscreen features. Amazingly, Clint Eastwood composed the original film scores of seven different movies, wrote songs for various films dating back to the ’60s, and can actually be seen performing in a handful of TV series and movies, including In the Line of Fire.