In honor of a great actor and director, two stories I've heard on the grapevine.
Clint bought the rights to UNFORGIVEN about ten years before he made the movie. He wanted to be old enough to play the part.
He’s finally ready to go into production. Has the writer, David Webb Peoples (BLADERUNNER) over to dinner. They chat and chat. David’s wondering when Clint is going to explain how he wants to change the script.
Dinner goes on and on. Finally, Peoples says something along the lines of, “So, what do you think you want to do with the script?" Because every director has the writer rewrite the script, if the writer is very lucky, or has his “guy” (it’s almost always a guy) rewrite the script. I was the director’s guy, for example, on BON COP / BAD COP.
Peoples is waiting for the shoe to drop.
Clint says, “Nope. It’s good,” and pours some more wine.
Shot the script word for word.
Had the self-confidence to know that the script was good. Didn’t need to mess with it just to make it his.
Clint is shooting A PERFECT WORLD starring Kevin Costner, back when Costner was on top of the world.
First shot, Costner’s supposed to run up to a line of laundry, steal some clothes, and run off.(His character is on the run.)
They roll the first take. Costner runs up, steals the laundry, runs off.
Clint says, “Okay, next setup.”
Costner says, “Wait, what? I can do better.”
Clint tells the crew, “What are you guys all standing around for? I said next setup.”
Costner gets very put out. Goes to his trailer and slams the door.
Clint tells Costner’s stunt double, “This is your lucky day!” and proceeds to set up the next shot using the stunt guy.
Costner storms out of his trailer, and says “You can’t do this to me!”
Clint looks him in the eye and says, “Kevin, I think I’m the only guy in Hollywood who can do this to you.”
I had heard the first story (Unforgiven) but also that he explained he had started to make some revisions himself but, as he put it, "the more I fiddled with the script the more I realized I was screwing it up". It takes a confident director to admit that.
A bit more on Unforgiven: Eastwood said in an interview, "It appealed to me because the film deals with the consequences of violence a lot more than those I've done before."
And the Costner story is absolutely PRICELESS.
I love A Perfect World.
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