Clint Eastwood walked away from two of the biggest and most iconic (and lucrative) roles in cinema history
Thank God’ Clint Eastwood is very happy he turned down two of biggest Hollywood roles
He might be an icon of Western and action cinema but Clint Eastwood walked away from two of the biggest and most iconic (and lucrative) roles in cinema history.
In his Dirty Harry and spaghetti Western acting heyday, Eastwood was the master of the grizzled, gritty anti-hero. Films like The Eiger Sanction, where he played a suave art dealer who moonlights as an assassin are classic double identity thrillers that gave a tantalising glimpse at what Eastwood could have done with two of the biggest roles of all time, both of which centre on a secret identity. The actor looked back on his career and shared his reasons for turning both down – and, refreshingly in an industry with so many missed opportunities or bad decisions, his complete lack of regret. He also drily added: “That was a long time ago. I was a little more pumped.”
Eastwood said: “I can remember – and this was many years ago – when [Warner Bros. President] Frank Wells came to me about doing Superman. So, it could have happened. This was when they first started to think about making it.
He was like, ‘Superman? Nah, nah, that’s not for me.’ Not that there’s anything wrong with it. It’s for somebody, but not me.”
However, the Hollywood hard man had no issue with the genre and happily revealed his own love of comics and favourite character is Marvel’s Namor: “The Sub-Mariner, that’s the one I always liked. I had all of those comics when I was a kid.”
That character, incidentally, has just made his big-screen Marvel debut in Black Panther 2, played by Narcos star Tenoch Huerta.
When Superman eventually hit the big screen with Christopher Reeve, Eastwood was enjoying major success away from his cowboys and cops projects with the light-hearted Every Which Way But Loose (alongside orang-utan Clyde).
But, at the time and later, his main reservation (apart from the tights) had been that any such role risked overshadowing an entire career.
He said: “That was part of the consideration, a big part. Look at Reeve, he was excellent. That was a big factor. You get a role like that, and it locks you in a bit.
“True, I had the western genre and the Dirty Harry role, but everybody made westerns and did cop movies; they didn’t seem as bad,”