Steve Everett (CLINT EASTWOOD) is an investigative reporter with a lot of problems. An alcoholic, he's only been sober for two months. An unrelenting womanizer, he's on the verge of being thrown out by his wife, Barbara (DIANE VENORA). Thanks to his messy personal life, he was fired from the New York Times. He has since relocated to the West Coast and The Oakland Tribune. If it wasn't for his friend Alan Mann (JAMES WOODS), the Tribune's editor-in-chief, he wouldn't have a job at all.
The move to the West Coast and the last-chance job haven't really influenced Everett's style much, which is infuriating to the Tribune's stiff-necked city editor, Bob Findley (DENIS LEARY). Furthermore, Everett's unorthodox conduct has personal consequences for Findley. In fact, when Findley wants to send Everett on a particular assignment, the editor calls home and asks his own wife, who is in bed with Everett at the time, to please put Everett on the phone.
Findley has made the call because another reporter, covering the impending San Quentin execution of convicted murderer Frank Beachum (ISAIAH WASHINGTON), has been killed in an automobile accident. The final interview with the condemned man has, therefore, been handed to Everett, who reluctantly begins to do a little research on the case, anticipating a routine story.
Despite the reoccurring complications in his own life, from the jalopy he drives to his collapsing marriage, Steve Everett is an excellent reporter. His background check on Frank Beachum, connected to the details of the robbery and homicide that took place in an Oakland convenience store, just doesn't add up. When he meets with Beachum at the prison, Everett receives information that confirms his instincts. He quickly begins a manic search for information which will stay the condemned man's execution.
Everett's late arrival to the situation is an obvious disadvantage. Still, his relentless pursuit of the truth keeps him chasing leads while the clock continues to tick against Beachum, who sits on Death Row with the odds stacked against him and with only one hope of survival.
Steve Everett, harried, hassled and trying not to self-destruct, has less than 12 hours to save the life of a man he knows is innocent.
About the Production
Shot on location in Oakland, California, and the surrounding East Bay of San Francisco, "True Crime" is Clint Eastwood's twenty-first film as a director. Returning to the area where he grew up and attended high school, Eastwood came to the project with Oakland in mind from the outset.
"The book was written with St. Louis as the city where the story takes place," Eastwood explains, "but I liked the visual possibilities better with Oakland. I know the area pretty well and I'm comfortable here, having grown up in the city and done a couple of films across the bay."
Eastwood's classic "Dirty Harry" Callahan was a San Francisco homicide detective and was featured in five memorable films, all of which were made in San Francisco.
"True Crime" includes scenes shot at San Quentin prison, as well as locations in downtown Oakland, San Leandro, and the countryside surrounding Petaluma. The soundstage work took place at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, on sets which were specially constructed to duplicate the cells on San Quentin's Death Row and the prison's gas chamber.
Academy Award-winning production designer Henry Bumstead ("To Kill A Mockingbird," "The Sting") was enlisted to recreate the prison sets, having recently worked for Eastwood on "Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil," "Absolute Power" and "Unforgiven." The rest of the Malpaso production team also returned, with Jack Green serving as director of photography, Joel Cox supervising the editing of the film, and Lennie Niehaus composing the musical score.
Warner Bros. Presents A Zanuck Company/Malpaso Production: Clint Eastwood in "True Crime." The music is by Lennie Niehaus; the film is edited by Joel Cox; the production is designed by Henry Bumstead; and the director of photography is Jack N. Green, A.S.C. The executive producer is Tom Rooker. "True Crime" has a screenplay by Larry Gross and Paul Brickman and Stephen Schiff, based on the novel by Andrew Klavan. The film is produced by Richard D. Zanuck & Lili Fini Zanuck; it is produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and distributed by Warner Bros., A Time Warner Entertainment Company.