Clint Eastwood Nearly Turned Down His Breakout Hollywood Role That Made Him A Western Legend Wildly Different From John Wayne

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Actor and director Clint Eastwood has revealed that he turned down the original offer for his critically acclaimed movie, A Fistful of Dollars. Clint Eastwood became well-known for playing the “Man with No Name” in the Dollars trilogy of Sergio Leone’s well-liked spaghetti westerns. After starring in three movies that catapulted him to stardom, Eastwood has gone on to direct and act in numerous Westers.

While Eastwood’s role as the Man with no Name made him a household name, the actor initially did not want to go to Italy and Spain to make Westerns and had reportedly rejected the offer.
Clint Eastwood’s Penchant For Westerns

 

Clint Eastwood is an actor-director, and the Western genre has shaped his whole career. Eastwood played Rowdy Yates in the Western TV series Rawhide before he became well-known for his work in the Dollars trilogy. Actor Eric Fleming costarred alongside Eastwood in the eight-season television series. Eastwood stated that he happened to land the Rawhide role by chance. Speaking about it in an interview with Parade, Eastwood noted how fortunate he was to land a job on the venerable program,

“I was at CBS Studios having tea with a friend, and a man came up to me and said, ‘Are you an actor?’ All of a sudden, I’m doing a series. I could make a living. You have to work hard and develop yourself in the acting profession—but a lot of outside things have to happen at the right time too.”

After the show, Clint Eastwood starred in several Westerns and became well-known throughout the world for his role in Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy. Once he returned to filmmaking, he focused on Westerns, directing films like Pale Rider, Bronco Billy, High Planes Drifter, and The Outlaw Josey Wales.

Eastwood’s performance in the Western Unforgiven won him his first Oscar. Alongside Gene Hackman, Richard Harris, and Morgan Freeman, he also performed in the movie as William Munny. In addition to being nominated for Best Actor, Eastwood received the Oscar for Best Director for the movie.

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Clint Eastwood Initially Rejected His Breakout Role

It is astonishing to learn that Clint Eastwood was first nervous about starring in Sergio Leone’s first movie in the Dollars trilogy, A Fistful of Dollars, given his intimate connection to the genre. In the 1960s, the Spaghetti Western genre was highly popular, resulting in a number of international co-productions that produced Westerns with an Italian flair. Actors from Italy or Spain would typically play the lead roles, alongside an Italian director. The movies were filmed in Germany, Spain, and Italy. Clint Eastwood stated that his agent persuaded him to read the script even though he was not interested in doing the movie. Says he,

“I said no way. But the woman at [his talent agency] William Morris said that she had promised the Rome office that I would at least read the script…I realized the story was Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa, which I was a big fan of. And I was going to make $10,000 to work in Spain and Italy, and I’d never been to Europe. So I figured that I would go and have a good trip.”

The actor’s seemingly unplanned decision to make these films as a way to earn good money and travel to Europe launched him as a leading star in Hollywood. Eastwood would later credit Sergio Leone as his mentor while accepting his Oscar for Best Director for Unforgiven.

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