Legendary actor Clint Eastwood has been an irreplaceable asset to the film industry and has been active since the 1950s. The Academy Award winner is known for his roles as nonchalant heroes such as his ‘Man with no name’ character in Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy and the Dirty Harry franchise.
In the past few decades, Eastwood has been seen more in the director’s chair, continuously churning out films despite his old age. The actor is also known for his intimidating persona off-screen and for being an efficient filmmaker. Actor Tom Hanks, who has worked with Eastwood on Sully, mentioned that the filmmaker had a bizarre directing style and that he was intimidated by the director.
Clint Eastwood As A Director
Known for his roles in the Western TV show Rawhide and the Spaghetti Westerns of director Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood started directing with the 1971 thriller Play Misty for Me. He has directed over thirty films in his career, with a penchant for war dramas and Westerns. He also directed one installment of his famous Dirty Harry franchise, directing the fourth film Sudden Impact.
Clint Eastwood directed many Westerns, starting with his second film High Plains Drifter. After dabbling with various genres, including variations of Westerns in films such as Bronco Billy, where he tried comedy, Eastwood won his first Academy Award for Best Director for the Western Unforgiven. Along with him, the film featured Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, and Richard Harris. The film was a huge success and earned over $159 million at the box office. It also won the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Hackman, and Best Film Editing.
The actor-director won his second Oscar for Best Director for the sports drama Million Dollar Baby, which starred him alongside Morgan Freeman and Hillary Swank. He directed and starred in the action drama Gran Torino, and also directed multiple war and military-based films such as Letters to Iwo Jima, Flags of our Fathers, and American Sniper. The latter was the director’s highest-grossing film. He is currently working on the thriller Juror No.2.
Clint Eastwood’s Directing Style
When Clint Eastwood started directing in 1971, he reportedly decided to change all the practices that filmmakers had that annoyed him as an actor. He apparently disagreed with the concept of retakes and was adamant about increasing production efficiency. He reportedly prefers to finish performances in a single take. With this practice, the director has been able to finish many films on a short production schedule.
The director also has a unique style of filming. Legendary actor Tom Hanks revealed on The Graham Norton Show (via Inform TV) that Clint Eastwood had a different way of saying ‘action’ during a shot. Hanks mentioned that Eastwood had experienced old-school directors on his TV show Rawhide, who make a big deal about saying action on a set, which scared horses on the Western. To avoid it, Eastwood does not use the word. Hanks said,
“He treats his actors like horses…So when you’re in a Clint Eastwood movie you don’t even know the cameras are rolling. You just hear, over your shoulder, a voice saying, ‘Alright, go ahead’…Sometimes you’re doing some pretty hard stuff and you keep doing it until you hear him say, ‘That’s enough of that’. And then you move on to the next setup. It’s intimidating as hell.”
Tom Hanks joked that Eastwood would not use the word, ‘cut’ and if someone was going to go again he would just say, “Stop”.
Tom Hanks worked with Eastwood on the biographical drama Sully, available for rent on Apple TV.