Clint Eastwood Once Felt Filmmakers Who Did Too Many Takes Shouldn’t Be Directors


Clint Eastwood spoke candidly about his opinions of specific filmmakers in the industry and the inefficiency of doing several takes. Over the course of his career in the film industry, actor Clint Eastwood has collaborated with a wide range of directors. In his experience, there was one filmmaking practice that other filmmakers would use that he could hardly stand. It may have also provided Eastwood with advice on how not to conduct himself while pursuing a career in filmmaking.

Clint Eastwood once called out directors who did too many takes

Eastwood became interested in directing fairly early in his acting career. After getting his big break in the classic Western series Rawhide, he asked to direct a couple of episodes.

Eastwood previously told DGA, “Then, the production company broke their promise that I could do it.”
“They claimed that CBS didn’t want show stars to serve as show directors. Therefore, I sort of put the idea on hold for a while before picking it back up after working with Sergio Leone on A Fistful of Dollars, watching the European film crews, and getting a better understanding of filmmaking globally. When Eastwood eventually helmed his debut motion picture Play Misty for Me, opportunity presented itself.

“It was a great experience, and I had the bug after that,” Eastwood said.

It was perhaps because of his own time as a filmmaker that Eastwood understood the process behind other directors. At one point, Eastwood became very critical of directors who did multiple takes. So much so that he called into question their qualifications and expertise as filmmakers.

“Some of these new directors will shoot 30 takes of a scene just because they don’t know what they want. They wind up with thousands of feet [of film], then they cry for some some editor to come in and save their butts. If you can’t see It yourself, you shouldn’t be a director,” Eastwood once told The New York Times.

Clint Eastwood has been known for only doing a couple of takes

Eastwood seems to have maintained his philosophy for limited takes in his more mature years. Actors like Matt Damon have been pleasantly surprised by the veteran star’s efficiency as a filmmaker. The Bourne Identity star had even gotten chewed out by Eastwood for wanting to do more than one take in Invictus.


“We did the first take, it went pretty well, but Clint says, ‘Cut. Print. Check the gate.’ Which means we’re gonna move on,” Damon recalled on Hot Ones. “And I said, ‘Hey, boss, maybe you think we can get one more?’ And he just turned and he goes, ‘Why? You wanna waste everybody’s time?’ I was like, ‘Ok, we’re done. Alright good, let’s move on.’”

But Eastwood believed his own habit for working quickly in films came down to his work on the small screen.

“I was raised by television, and television required quick action. Of course, what appears on the screen is what matters. I enjoy moving quickly only because I believe it helps the cast and crew feel like we are making progress.

Eastwood did, however, issue a warning that his reputation as a speedy director would quickly backfire.

“You don’t want to shoot Plan 9 from Outer Space, when the gravestones tumble over and you say, ‘I can’t do another take. We are overworked. Pass on. You continue to create a movie that you wish to be accurate. However, I discover that as an actor, I performed better when the filmmakers moved quickly, he added.

Clint Eastwood once preferred directing over acting

Despite his enormous success in both fields, Eastwood claimed that there were some advantages to being a director as opposed to an actor.

I have performed both professions so frequently that I have never considered the differences. Making a movie is similar to… That way, it’s a little slower. No need to dress in formal attire. Nobody is coming in and combing your hair or doing anything else. It is different, a little more slow. However, they both go on a journey. It’s a brand-new experience,” he remarked.