EXCLUSIVE: Don’t be surprised if Clint Eastwood is asked to host next year’s Tony Awards; he’s positioning himself to be that popular with the legit crowd. Eastwood is prepping to direct the movie version of Jersey Boys for Warner Bros. Instead of the Hollywood tradition of chasing screen stars, I’m told Eastwood is looking to cast the main role in the movie with the actors who are onstage every night in the various Jersey Boys stage shows all around the world.

It might give Sue Kroll a marketing challenge, but if he goes through with it, Eastwood certainly will deliver to Warner Bros a reasonably priced movie. Production on the film will start at the end of August on the Warner Bros lot. It is produced by Graham King and Rob Lorenz, with Valli and Bob Gaudio serving as executive producers.The stage show is certainly a brand: It has generated more than $1 billion in sales for all its companies. After opening in 2005, Jersey Boys won four Tony Awards in 2006, including Best Musical; it then won the Grammy for soundtrack, and the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Musical after it opened on the West End in 2008. The musical is produced by Dodger Theatricals, and the musical was written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe, and direction by Des McAnuff.