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Warner Bros. Playing 'Dirty'

10 May, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Warner Bros. pulled out the stops for a cop … not just any gumshoe, but detective “Dirty Harry” Callahan, made famous over 17 years and five films by cultural icon Clint Eastwood.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment May 10 at E3 in Los Angeles announced that Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Laurence Fishburne would lend their voices and likenesses to a Dirty Harry video game slated for release in 2007.

Warner Home Video beginning Sept. 1 will put a moratorium on all films of the “Harry” franchise, including Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool.

This is the first time the studio has ever placed a stop on new sales of a film franchise. The Dirty Harry titles collectively have sold 12 million units worldwide.

The titles will be upgraded to the HD DVD format, include revamped 5.1 sound and new bonus and original material (with Eastwood's input), and will be re-released as the five-disc Dirty Harry Collection day-and-date with the video game.

In addition to Eastwood, the significance of “Dirty Harry” to Warner Bros. was underscored by the presence of top executives, including Time Warner chairman and CEO Barry Meyer, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group president Kevin Tsujihara and WHV president Ron Sanders.

Meyer said Eastwood's 50-year history with Warner Bros. began in the 1950s with “Rawhide,” the studio's first foray in the then-nascent television industry.

“It is a little bit of history repeating itself today with Eastwood here helping the studio launch itself into another new business, the game business,” said Meyer. “This is a very serious piece of business for Warner Bros.”

The 75-year-old Eastwood said he is often asked if he would reprise the Callahan role despite being well past retirement age for a police officer.

“What would I do, be a retiree fly-fishing out in some stream with a .44 magnum?” joked the soft-spoken Eastwood. “Besides, I get to do something that none of you will be able to do and that is, I get to go back and be 40 again.”

When asked if he would alter anything in the video game from the Dirty Harry film, Eastwood said he doesn't look back and that the game would reflect the film's characters moving forward in the game space.

Eastwood also noted that detective Callahan was the antithesis to politically correct, something that probably wouldn't fly with today's sensibilities.

“With politics today, I like being PC and I'll stay that way,” Eastwood said.

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