News / Arts & Entertainment

Eastwood Reaches Beyond Shadowy Boundary Between Life, Death in 'Hereafter'

MATT DAMON as George Lonegan in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “HEREAFTER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
MATT DAMON as George Lonegan in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “HEREAFTER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Alan Silverman

Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood reunites with his Invictus star Matt Damon for a new drama that explores the ages-old mystery of what happens after death. Here's a look at Hereafter.

Marie is a French TV reporter who drowned in the 2004 tsunami, but was later revived and then is haunted by the puzzling images she recalls. While she tries to find answers as a journalist, an English youngster turns to the paranormal in search of a way to contact his dead twin brother.

The two quests lead them both to George Lonegan, a lonely San Francisco recluse who, it turns out, is really able to communicate with the recently departed …albeit reluctantly.

Matt Damon stars as George, whose psychic abilities were awakened by his own near-death experience.

"My character, when you discover him, is a guy who actually does have this ability," explains Damon, "but doesn't want it because it is ruining any chance he has at having a normal life."

MATT DAMON as George Lonegan in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “HEREAFTER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
MATT DAMON as George Lonegan in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “HEREAFTER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Damon admits to being a skeptic and did not seek out psychics to help him research the role; but he is intrigued by the idea of seeing and speaking with dead people.

"If someone could do what George did and connect you to somebody who passed on, I'd be very interested in it," admits Damon. "I think everyone, when you get to my age, has lost friends and family members …so yes, I'd be open to that."

Director Clint Eastwood, now 80 years old, is twice Damon's age and his take on mortality and the afterlife comes from a different perspective. However he says the Hereafter script has room for many points of view.

Director CLINT EASTWOOD and CÉCILE de FRANCE on the set of Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “HEREAFTER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Director CLINT EASTWOOD and CÉCILE de FRANCE on the set of Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “HEREAFTER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

"Most religions seem to ponder the afterlife, but I thought this was interesting because it wasn't really a religious project," explains Eastwood. "It had spirituality about it, but it was not necessarily tied in with any particular organized thought. Certainly I think everyone has thought about it at some point or another in time; and it's a fantasy that, if there is anything out there like that, it would be just terrific, but that remains to be seen."

Screenwriter Peter Morgan, whose films include the recent fact-based dramas The Queen, Frost/Nixon and The Last King of Scotland, recalls being ambivalent while writing how Hereafter portrays the hereafter.

"I don't want this film to become a film in which we have the answer and we've got a 'scoop' here, because that is not what the film is," notes Morgan. "The film is really a story of inquiry and curiosity and a feeling of incompleteness and of living with mystery. It's something that unites every one of us …none of us know where we're going and we're going to do all of it alone. I thought it would be quite interesting just to provoke those questions, but without offering any answers because it is very private."

Director and producer Eastwood believes each person in the audience can come away from the film with his or her own interpretation.

FRANKIE and GEORGE McLAREN as Marcus and Jason in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “HEREAFTER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
FRANKIE and GEORGE McLAREN as Marcus and Jason in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “HEREAFTER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

"Yes, it raises a lot of questions, but that is where it ends," Eastwood says. "The questions are there. You pose the questions and then it is up to the audience to meet you halfway and think about it in terms of their own lives and what their thoughts are and what experiences they might have had. It would be interesting to see what answers are, but they are going to have to come up with those answers."

The international cast of Hereafter also features French screen star Cécile De France as tsunami survivor Marie. American actress Bryce Dallas Howard is a potential partner for George; and young British newcomers Frankie and George McLaren play the twin brothers reaching across the shadowy boundary between life and death. As he has done for most of his recent films, director Clint Eastwood also composed the musical soundtrack.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley












Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”