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Clint Eastwood

Actually, Western Icon Clint Eastwood Is Better Off When He’s Not a Cowboy

The mythology of the Western genre would be left unrealized if not for Clint Eastwood. The legendary actor-director, who remains active in the field into his 90s, serves as a one-two punch with John Wayne as the figure who shaped the iconography of the American frontier, with Eastwood more willing to expose a darker underbelly of the genre. He deconstructed the genre and the traditional cowboy protagonist with Westerns that spanned decades, from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, to ones which he also directed, including High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Unforgiven. For as groundbreaking as he was in this genre, Eastwood was at his most refined, meditative, and creative when he stepped outside the Wild West. After making Westerns for decades across television and film, he utilized the layered and timeless themes of the genre in diverse settings. The combination of Western ideas in non-Western settings elevated him to his most interesting.
Eastwood as the Outlaw in ‘Dirty Harry’ and ‘Gran Torino’

Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino

Image via Warner Bros.

The trait most associated with Westerns is the outlaw figure who rides into a new town and stirs up trouble with the locals. Eastwood has employed this character archetype in various non-Westerns as an actor, director, or both. The character who best fits this mold is a contemporary one: Harry Callahan of Dirty Harry. Despite being, on paper, the truest example of steadfast law enforcement and justice, “Dirty” Harry is more of an outlaw than The Man With No Name or Josey Wales. Beyond his embedded character traits, such as his combative relationship with his superior officers and boundary-pushing vigilantism, Callahan is an active comment on America in the 1970s. While the original 1971 Don Siegel film was criticized at the time for its fascist undertones, its anti-hero protagonist is emblematic of the kind of model law enforcer Americans desired, one that would shoot first and ask questions later amid a time when pure justice seemingly evaporated. The film’s transgressive nature is rooted in ’70s cinema sensibilities, where a police officer can carry the weight of an outlaw.

In a similarly provocative bid, Eastwood starred in and directed Gran Torino in 2008, a film that confronts his critiques of fascism and bigotry that he faced throughout his career. While the film can be viewed as overtly self-serving with Eastwood’s apologetic treatment of his own screen persona, his performance and direction lend enough pathos to set aside any glaring flaws of his characterization. In this film about a widowed Korean War veteran consumed by rage and bigotry, Walt Kowalski, Eastwood inverts the framework of a Western. Walt does not saddle up to a new town, but rather, the old neighborhood he’s lived in all his life has completely changed over. The film constructs the outlaw figure with entitled traditionalism. Walt, who was once fond of the white, working-class families that used to reside in the neighborhood, is bitter about the company of Hmong immigrants that have taken over the street. In the vain of John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards character in the John Ford classic, The Searchers, Walt is eventually determined to rescue a naive and ignorant local Hmong teen from the influence of the neighborhood gang. Despite showing signs of growth, Walt is no hero with his guidance over the teen. If anything, his self-created guardian angel complex is meant to fuel his repressed rage over the immigrants in the neighborhood.

Fatherhood and Masculinity in ‘A Perfect World’

Clint Eastwood and Laura Dern in A Perfect WorldImage via Warner Bros.

Examination and deconstruction of masculinity are as important to Westerns as horses and revolvers. In one of the most subtle and meditative outputs of his filmography, Eastwood followed up his Best Picture-winning Unforgiven (and supposed career capstone) with A Perfect World. This film, following the journey of an escaped prison inmate, Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner), and the bond he forms with a kidnapped boy, Phillip (T.J. Lowther) is about empty fatherhood at its heart. For Butch, his only valve for channeling paternal care over the boy is through violence. He shows him how to point a gun, and invites him as an accomplice in numerous robberies in his plight to evade law enforcement, with the Texas Ranger in charge of the pursuit, Red Garnett, played by Eastwood. Butch and the boy have a spiritual kinship with each other, but violence and crime are the only way he can act as the surrogate father for a lonely child who, before taken hostage, lived a suppressed lifestyle restricted from an idealistic childhood. Eastwood, in a sobering manner, depicts someone who desires to teach a boy how to be a man through the usual antiquated tropes as a way to grapple with his lack of proper fatherhood. More exquisitely, Eastwood’s direction comments on the masculine archetype that he idealized throughout his career by shining a light on the emotional void that a man like Butch is filled with. Additionally, A Perfect World seamlessly weaves in quiet contemplation of law enforcement, with Eastwood’s character in over his head with the pursuit. The failure of the law is contextualized in relation to the profound relationship that Phillip has with Butch. The law could never comprehend the bond formed by these two lonely spirits drifting through time and space

Crime and Punishment in ‘Mystic River’

mystic-river-sean-pennImage via Warner Bros.

Since his early days in Hollywood, Eastwood’s fascination with crime and punishment has driven him to his greatest heights, particularly via Westerns. When these ideas are explored in a contemporary setting, such as in Mystic River, they combine for weighty emotional resonance. An ex-con, Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn), is distraught over the murder of his daughter. Because of the pent-up rage he radiates, there is an inevitability to him taking the law into his own hands, similar to the underbelly of evil that still resided in Eastwood’s “retired” hitman character, Will Munny, in Unforgiven. Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins) is emotionally tortured after being sexually abused as a kid. The actual law enforcement officer of the three, Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon), is equally cynical about the world and dubious of his ability to serve justice. After a traumatic event the three experienced as youths, they view the world as cold, bleak, and lawless. Eastwood’s direction and striking utilization of Boston as a character morph the entire story as a modern spin on Western themes. Characters intersect regarding the murder and the ensuing criminal investigation and cannot fathom any solution. All they can do is vent their grief and sheer vengeance.
At the very least, Eastwood reveals untapped sides of his personality and creative sensibilities when removed from the prism of Westerns. Along with Dirty Harry in 1971, Eastwood and Don Siegel teamed up for The Beguiled, a gothic romance/thriller that spiced up the power dynamic of an Eastwood picture by submitting him to the will of obsessively romantic girls at a boarding school students. Speaking of romance, in a more wholesome turn but not any less emotionally punishing, Eastwood showed unprecedented nuance with his acting and directing in The Bridges of Madison County. While using his natural physical attraction to his benefit, this 1995 romance, starring alongside Meryl Streep, unveils his internal beauty. With its loose structure predicated on two star-crossed lovers vicariously forming a lifelong relationship in four days, the audience is left to merely be in awe of Eastwood’s romanticism. The shock of this ideal matinée idol being the same actor behind Dirty Harry complements the film’s dramatic weight. Eastwood’s contributions to the cultural formation of Westerns are the work of legends, but as both an actor and director, he pushed the limits of his persona and the form of the film medium when stepping away from the Western template. In short, this feature ought to serve as a proper reminder to not take Clint Eastwood and his vast accomplishments in the field for granted, because when he moves on, there will never be anyone else like him.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s Daughter Reveals Her Favorite Advice He Gave Her

Alison Eastwood is an actress as well one of the daughters of the famed actor and director Clint Eastwood. Getting any type of advice from dear old Dad is a good thing. When it comes to her favorite piece that he gave her, you might think it was acting. She did get the acting bug, too, and did star in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. This advice must be about her career, right? Nope. It had to do with the always tough task of living life.

“I guess just not to take [life] too seriously,” Alison Eastwood tells Closer Weekly in an interview from 2019. “He never seemed to take anything too seriously. Maybe that’s not a good thing … I don’t know.” Yet she also would offer up a little more insight which she’s picked up from being around him. “He makes me laugh, I make him laugh,” Alison said. “That’s my favorite part about it. I think just having a lot of laughter, especially in our family, amongst ourselves. We’re all getting older.”

Clint Eastwood Isn’t A Big Fan Of His Birthday, Daughter Alison Says

She also says that Dad isn’t a big fan of his birthday. He would rather be doing something else, like working or playing golf, than celebrating his big day. Still, Clint Eastwood keeps on providing fans with film work as an actor and director. He’s achieved great success and to think he also has a classic TV connection. Of course, Clint does from his days playing Rowdy Yates on Rawhide.

Yet it is in the movies of Eastwood that has really made him a household name. Working in Europe would provide some foundational success thanks to the “Spaghetti Westerns” directed by Sergio Leone. He would play the “Man with No Name” in films like A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. They all would lead Eastwood to then become an iconic police officer as Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry. One time, he talked about A Fistful of Dollars possibly becoming an “absolute disaster.” What in the world does he mean by this? Eastwood told Roger Ebert years ago that the movie’s producers were arguing among themselves. The issue at hand was who would pay the bills to get the movie done. This leads him to say, “It could have been an absolute disaster. But, we got lucky with it. And it turned out Sergio Leone was for real.”

While his record of success and achievement is solid, sometimes Eastwood has to pick and choose between projects. When it came to playing Bruce Willis’ role John McClane in Die Hard, Eastwood did turn it down. Screenwriter Jeb Stuart would say that Eastwood said that he didn’t get the humor in the movie.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s Daughter Posts Rare Selfie, And Her Fans Are Absolutely Loving It

Earlier this week, Clint Eastwood’s daughter, Francesca Eastwood, took to her Instagram account to share a rare selfie.

The actress, who didn’t write a caption for the post, is seen with a pair of pink lens sunglasses while sitting near a plant. Follows of Clint Eastwood’s daughter gushed over the simple snapshot. “Extraordinarily Beautiful,” one follower declared. “You look gorgeous, so much like your mom,” another added.

Francesca is preparing to film her upcoming action-packed movie, “Live Fast, Die Laughing.” The film follows a broke taxi driver in Vietnam who thinks it is his lucky day when a mysterious offers him a fortune to drive her 1,000 miles from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. While on the road, the duo is pursued by mobsters and an assassin. Written by Timothy Linh Bui and Tim Tori and directed by Bui, Eastwood will star in the film alongside Harvey Keitel. 

Clint Eastwood’s Daughter Francesca Talks Starring in a Western Genre Film 

While promoting her 2016 film “Outlaws and Angels,” Francesca revealed to the Observer that she didn’t speak to her father, Clint Eastwood, about starring in the western genre film.

“I didn’t ask my parents for advice on this one,” Francesca stated about the role. But she did admit that she usually asks her parents but she wanted to do her own thing this time. “So I just ran and did it and talked with them about it later. I wanted to do one on my own, and it felt great.”

Frances Fisher, Francesca’s mother, was also part of the film. However, the duo did not appear in any scenes together. “This is the first time that I was on a film and then she came on after, rather than her being in a film and I join as her baby. I was probably the least experienced actor, and everyone was just so welcoming and really nurturing to that.”

While speaking about working in a desert, Francesca recalled, “It was pretty intense with the heat and the costumes, and we couldn’t wash them because they were supposed to look aged, so after about 3 weeks of being in the same layers it was just gross. It was fun and part of the experience though. Normally if you’re uncomfortable or too hot you go get a water and sit in a trailer, but that was so not the case with this one.”

Francesa went on to note that she and the rest of the cast just dealt with the production’s conditions. “No one really went to the trailers. We just hung out – no texting, Tweeting, Instagramming. I think it made it really special. There were no distractions.”

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood: The Wild Story of How He Survived a Plane Crash Into Shark-Infested Waters

Although he is known for his successful Hollywood career, Clint Eastwood’s acting talents were almost never discovered.

According to War History Online, Clint Eastwood actually survived a plane crash in shark-infected waters. This was all during his time in the U.S. Army. The now actor was drafted into the military branch for the Korean War in 1951. He was then sent to Ford Ord, California to complete basic training and where he worked as a swim instructor as well as a bouncer at the NCO club.

While returning to California after a visit with his parents in Seattle, Clint Eastwood flew on a U.S. Navy AD-1Q Skyraider. The airliner was heading to Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, California. However, during the flight, Eastwood and pilot Lt. Francis Coleman Anderson’s aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Point Reyes. The duo notably survived because they had access to a life raft and managed to swim in the cold water. 

Clint Eastwood spoke about the incident by stating, “In those days, you could wear your uniform and get a free flight. One the way back, they had one plane, a Douglas AD. Sort of a torpedo bomber of the World War II vintage, and I thought I’d hitch on that. Everything went wrong. Radios went out. Oxygen ran out. And finally, we ran out of fuel up around Point Reyes, California, and went into the ocean. So we went swimming.”

Clint Eastwood further recalled that the event took place in late October or early November and the water was very cold. “Found out many years later that it was a white shark breeding ground, but I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time or I’d have just died,” he noted. 

Clint Eastwood Responds to Whether or Not His Film ‘American Sniper’ Glorified War 

While speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Clint Eastwood discussed his 2014 film “American Sniper” and if the film actually glorifies war. 

“I think it’s nice for veterans,” Clint Eastwood explained. “Because it shows what they go through, and that life — and the wives and families of veterans. It has a great indication of the stresses they are under. And I think that all adds up to kind of an anti-war [message].”

When asked if he considers himself anti-war, Clint Eastwood answered, “Yes. I’ve done war movies because they’re always loaded with drama and conflict. But as far as actual participation … it’s one of those things that should be done with a lot of thought, if it needs to be done. Self-protection is a very important thing for nations, but I just don’t like to see it.”

Clint Eastwood went on to add that he wasn’t a big fan of going to war in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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