24 OCTOBER 2007

Clint Eastwood found himself in a supporting role this week as he accompanied his stunning daughter Alison to the LA premiere of her directorial debut Rails & Ties. Completing the close family scene was her actor brother Kyle, 39. The moving film features experienced talents Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden who were both previously directed by Clint in Mystic River, so 35-year-old Alison had some big shoes to fill behind the camera.

"I'd say I pretty much have a similar directing style to his," she said recently. "I came in under budget and on time, and I do a little more than one take. He'll do a couple of takes. We both come from the school of not wanting to kill it."

She insists nepotism played no part in her ability to get the film – which she spent years developing as a producer, before realising she wanted to direct it as well – off the ground. "Just because you've grown up around someone who directs doesn't mean they let you do it, too," says the first-time director.

But clearly there are perks to being Clint's daughter. When he found out she was going to be in the director's chair the multi-Oscar winner offered her a week shadowing him while he shot scenes for 2006's Letters From Iwo Jima in California. "It was wonderful," she told an American newspaper. "He's not a man of many words. He doesn't get chatty. Instead of telling me anything, he let me be a fly on the wall and watch him at a different level. It was his way of being helpful, by showing me how he worked."

Alison didn't choose easy material for her debut film. The emotion-filled movie follows the story of a childless couple – longtime railroad engineer Tom Stark and his terminally ill wife – whose lives are changed when Tom's train hits a car driven intentionally onto the tracks, killing the woman behind the wheel. Her 11-year-old son escapes the crash and hunts down the Starks, bringing new meaning to their family after he moves in with them.

Photo: ©
Proud papa Clint let his daughter take centre stage this week at the LA premiere of her directorial debut. His son Kyle, who like Alison is the result of the Oscar-winner's first marriage to Maggie Johnson, was also there to support the stunning blondePhoto: © RexClick on photo to enlarge