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Clint Eastwood

Interviews, Revised and Updated

Robert E. Kapsis

Publication Year: 2012

Clint Eastwood (b. 1930) is the only popular American dramatic star to have shaped his own career almost entirely through films of his own producing, frequently under his own direction; no other dramatic star has directed himself so often. He is also one of the most prolific active directors, with thirty-three features to his credit since 1971.

As a star, he is often recalled primarily for two early roles--the "Man with No Name" of three European-made Westerns, and the uncompromising cop "Dirty" Harry Callahan. But on his own as a director, Eastwood has steered a remarkable course. A film industry insider who works through the established Hollywood system and respects its traditions, he remains an outsider by steadfastly refusing to heed cultural and aesthetic trends in film production and film style. His films as director have examined an eclectic variety of themes, ranging from the artist's life to the nature of heroism, while frequently calling into question the ethos of masculinity and his own star image. Yet they have remained accessible to a popular audience worldwide. With two Best Director and two Best Picture Oscars to his credit, Eastwood now ranks among the most highly honored living filmmakers.

These interviews range over the more than four decades of Eastwood's directorial career, with an emphasis on practical filmmaking issues and his philosophy as a filmmaker. Nearly a third are from European sources--several appearing here in English for the first time.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-xxii

The present volume is the second edition of Clint Eastwood: Interviews; the first edition came out in 1999. In the years since, Eastwood’s thirtyyear career as a filmmaker has become a more than forty-year career, and his twenty-plus feature films as director have become more than thirty. The introduction that...


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pp. xxiii-xxx


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pp. xxxi

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No Tumbleweed Ties for Clint

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pp. 3-6

He was on the phone, talking about the matrix and the looping and all the other things directors talk about when they call the Coast. “The sound is twenty frames ahead of the music and the color processing is wrong on the work print.” Hitchcock? Minnelli? Well, don’t snicker. Would you believe Clint...

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Eastwood on Eastwood

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pp. 7-19

Clint Eastwood moves quickly. I had been at Universal Studios, where Eastwood’s Malpaso Production Company is headquartered, for three weeks before I could catch up with him. A few nights before I made my third try to catch him at his Universal bungalow, I had seen a preview of Play Misty for Me, Eastwood’s...

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Eastwood Direction

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pp. 20-39

Q: How did you start directing? A: I first got interested when I was doing Rawhide. We were shooting a stampede on location, three thousand head of cattle, and I was riding right in the middle of it, dust flying, really dramatic looking. I went to the director and said...

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Director Clint Eastwood: Attention to Detail and Involvement for the Audience

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pp. 40-52

“Making a good movie takes a good cast, a good story, and everything else,” Eastwood begins. “But what it comes down to, whether it’s going to be any good or not, is how disciplined you are in keeping the overall concept through the assembling. And it’s tough to do because you look at the film over...

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Eastwood: An Auteur to Reckon With

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pp. 53-56

Success begets power, but power does not necessarily beget more success in turn, or corporate life would be very dull. The question of what the successful will do with their powers is somehow more suspenseful in the movies than anywhere else because the answers are so visible—ponderous failures or daring...

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Cop on a Hot Tightrope

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pp. 57-71

Clint Eastwood keeps the same old bungalow at Warners, with subdued light and brown décor, where he can stretch out on a sofa in a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers, yarning away for a couple of hours about doing his movies. It’s all kept at an amiable, easy-going, unpretentious, and unalarming level—hey, come on in, let’s talk. Yet Eastwood is more likely to extend that invitation...

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“Whether I Succeed or Fail, I Don’t Want to Owe It to Anyone but Myself”: From Play Misty for Me to Honkytonk Man

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pp. 72-92

Q: What do you think you’ve learned from filmmakers you collaborated with before you became a director? A: I learned a lot, but wouldn’t be capable of distinguishing the contribution of each one. The films of Don Siegel, like those of Sergio Leone, were models of economy. They never went over their allotted budget. That was my school...

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Clint Eastwood: The Rolling Stone Interview

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pp. 93-105

Precisely two decades ago, a friend of mine insisted I go see a movie about the American West, a film made in Italy and shot partially in Spain. At the time, it was intellectually acceptable to be passionate about Italian films that limned the sick soul of Europe; the idea of an Italian western was oxymoronic—at best...

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Eastwood on Eastwood

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pp. 106-111

Frayling: Could we talk about the origins of the “Eastwood style,” in the Spaghetti Westerns of the mid-1960s? In retrospect, they changed both the look and the feel of the traditional Western. Eastwood: Yeah, I think they changed the style, the approach to Westerns. They “operacized” them, if there’s such a word. They made the violence and the shooting...

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Flight of Fancy

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pp. 112-118

Clint Eastwood, I had heard, is somewhat of a jazz buff—otherwise, why would he take the director’s seat for Bird, the film biography of jazz great Charlie “Bird” Parker? As it turns out, Eastwood is more than a buff, he’s a downright enthusiast. When he talks about jazz, or Parker in particular, Eastwood’s...

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Interview with Clint Eastwood

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pp. 119-130

Q: What was the origin of White Hunter, Black Heart? A: A fellow by the name of Stanley Rubin, who I’d met a long time ago at the beginning of the fifties when he was a producer at Universal, was working for Ray Stark, and he asked me whether I’d be interested in reading a script that had...

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Interview with Clint Eastwood

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pp. 131-141

After the vision of Unforgiven, it seemed to us to be indispensable to meet with Clint Eastwood. We did so at the end of this past August, in the course of an intensive publicity tour. Reserved, humorous, perceptive: Clint Eastwood, the man as he is...

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Any Which Way He Can

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pp. 142-155

You’re Clint Eastwood, huge box-office star and iconic leading man. In four decades, you haven’t won an Oscar. So you try directing a great movie—and not giving a damn. It is 6 P.M. on a Saturday night in Alberta, Canada, on the set of Unforgiven. Clint Eastwood likes to shoot westerns in the autumn, so the production descended...

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America on the Brink of the Void

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pp. 156-162

In A Perfect World the chief players are a child and his kidnapper (Kevin Costner) on the run. If the film describes an intimate, complex relationship, which allows Clint Eastwood to reflect on the relations between a father and a son, it brings to the screen one of the wounds of American society—and certainly...

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Q & A with a Western Icon

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pp. 163-167

After helming nearly twenty films and starring in dozens more, Eastwood’s work as a director and actor has reaped box-office bonanzas and yielded awards all over the world, including an Oscar for his direction of 1992’s Best Picture, Unforgiven. But he’s also got an Oscar on his mantle for producing the...

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“Truth, Like Art, Is in the Eyes of the Beholder”: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The Bridges of Madison County

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pp. 168-177

Q: Many American critics questioned your choice of a material as ambiguous, ironic, polyphonic as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. A: What amuses me is the state of confusion this country’s critics are in. They keep complaining that we are not making character-driven films like in the 1930s and ’40s, but...

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A Conversation with Clint Eastwood about Mystic River

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pp. 178-188

If the mark of a great director is getting amazing performances from his actors, Clint Eastwood has reached that point. He himself has said, “This is as good as I can do.” Mystic River opened the forty-first New York Film Festival...

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Mystic River: Eastwood, without Anger or Forgiveness

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pp. 189-192

Mystic River comes out just before The Matrix Revolutions, another Warner Bros. production with an enormous budget. What does Warners think about your film...

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Staying Power

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pp. 193-205

Age has clenched Clint Eastwood’s face tight as a fist, but he has never been more tender, vulnerable, and heartbroken than in Million Dollar Baby. It’s not surprising that the camera still loves Eastwood’s visage, finding unchanging beauty in the skull beneath the skin. His facial bones, if anything,...

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Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima

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pp. 206-218

This is Fresh Air. I’m Terry Gross. My guest Clint Eastwood has directed two films about one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, the battle of Iwo Jima. The first film, Flags of Our Fathers, showed the battle from the American point of view and told the story...

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The Quiet American

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pp. 219-225

Last time we met, I suggested that your work seemed to be getting closer to Howard Hawks’s films in its interest in relationships, place, atmosphere, and so on, rather than plot...

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Do You Feel Lucky, Monk?

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pp. 226-229

It’s one of those curiosities of human nature. No matter how much we achieve in this world, no matter how much life brings us, there are always regrets and pangs of failure. “If I’ve had any regret in life, it was not paying more attention to it and not practice, practice, practice.” That’s Clint Eastwood...

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Clint Eastwood, America’s Director: The Searcher

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pp. 230-233

“You’ve made the first movie of the Obama generation!” exclaimed an audience member, as he rushed up to Clint Eastwood after a recent screening of Gran Torino. “Well,” the seventy-eight-year-old actor-director replied, without missing...

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Eastwood on the Pitch: At Seventy-Nine, Clint Tackles Mandela in Invictus

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pp. 234-244

On a late March morning, the sun sits high in the Cape Town sky, illuminating the trapezoidal monolith of Table Mountain in the distance, while down by the city’s busy waterfront, the players of South Africa’s national rugby union team—the Springboks—go for a training run. Only the careful observer...

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Interview with Clint Eastwood: First, Believe in Yourself

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pp. 245-251

It was the screenplay by Peter Morgan and the intelligence of its structure. I liked the fact that it incorporates authentic events in a fictional story, like the tsunami of six years ago and the terrorist attacks in the London Underground...

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With J. Edgar, Eastwood Again Flexes His Freedom

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pp. 252-256

Peanut shells occasionally litter Clint Eastwood’s office carpet. Eastwood doesn’t eat peanuts. Neither does his staff, which keeps his quarters on the Warner Bros. lot immaculate. The mess belongs to Lola, a squirrel Eastwood lets roam his office and ransack a bag he leaves open on the bottom of a bookcase...

For Further Reading

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pp. 257-258


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pp. 259-275

E-ISBN-13: 9781621030690
E-ISBN-10: 1621030695
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617036637

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2012

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Subject Headings

  • Eastwood, Clint, 1930-.
  • Motion picture actors and actresses -- United States -- Interviews.
  • Motion picture producers and directors -- United States -- Interviews.
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