Eastwood directs Jolie in 1920s lost child drama

Tue May 20, 2008 9:48am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Clint Eastwood directs Angelina Jolie in a gripping 1920s drama based on the true story of a woman whose search for her missing son forced her to confront the Los Angeles police and a serial child killer.

There was confusion on Tuesday over the name of the movie, one of 22 entries in the main competition at the Cannes film festival this year. It was originally titled "The Changeling" but production notes re-named it "The Exchange."

Based on archives from Los Angeles City Hall that were about to be destroyed until screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski rescued them after a tip off, the story is about working class mother Christine Collins whose nine-year-old son goes missing.

A police force in desperate need of positive publicity says they have found the boy, but when Collins insists the child is not hers she is subjected to a smear campaign and sent to a psychiatric ward for five days.

With the help of a charismatic pastor, played by John Malkovich, Collins goes in search of the truth, exposing corruption and incompetence in the police force along the way.

Separately, a serial child killer is caught, and the two storylines begin to emerge.

"This woman, through her tenacious attitude, brought down the whole police department and the whole political structure -- the mayor was not re-elected," Eastwood said after a press screening, where "The Exchange" was applauded loudly.

"It's a great study on human characteristics, this one mother fighting against the whole city," added the 77-year-old.   Continued...

<p>Director Clint Eastwood (L) and cast member Angelina Jolie pose during a photocall for the film "The Exchange" at the 61st Cannes Film Festival May 20, 2008. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>