The Western Movie Where Clint Eastwood Fired His Director & Changed Hollywood Forever

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During the filming of a Western movie, Clint Eastwood infamously fired his director and took his place, which consequently changed Hollywood forever.

Here’s what transpired and how Clint Eastwood’s decision to remove his director during the filming of a Western ultimately impacted Hollywood forever. Clint Eastwood has been a creative force since the start of his Hollywood career, winning multiple awards for both acting and directing. The seasoned actor established his reputation in the business by portraying blandly expressive yet strong spaghetti western characters early in his career. His distinct filmmaking techniques have made him a well-known director, and they have contributed to his two Academy Award victories in the Best Director category.

Beyond his directing and acting pursuits, too, Eastwood is renowned for being quite strict with his expectations and behind-the-scenes choices regarding the films he participates in. In reference to Clint Eastwood’s directing technique, for example, Tom Hanks once said (via The Guardian) that “he treats his actors like horses.” The Western actor and director had a bitter feud that profoundly altered the inner workings of Hollywood even before Tom Hanks revealed how frightening Clint Eastwood can be when filming a film.

Why Clint Eastwood Fired His Director On The Outlaw Josey Wales

The Outlaw Josey Wales is loosely based on a novel titled The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales, and Clint Eastwood himself paid a portion of the amount required to acquire the book’s rights. Philip Kaufman, who overlooked the movie’s script and direction, wanted it to be as close to the book as possible. He expected Eastwood to adopt everything from Wales’ mannerisms to his unique lingo in The Outlaw Josey Wales. However, even though he wanted to stay loyal to the source material’s content, Kaufman was against the author’s political takes and even called him “a crude fascist.” Later, it also turned out that the book was written by former KKK organizer Asa Earl Carter.

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Owing to his discontentment, Kaufman wanted to diminish the book’s political undertones and emphasis more on other narrative elements. Eastwood, however, disagreed with the director’s approach. During The Outlaw Josey Wales’ shooting, a feud between Kaufman and East started brewing because of their difference of opinion towards the film’s direction and story adaptation. As per reports (via Clint: The Life and Legend of Clint Eastwood by Patrick McGilligan), Eastwood also cast Sondra Locke against Kaufman’s wishes, and Kaufman was even jealous of the romantic developments between Eastwood and Locke. When this conflict reached its boiling point, Eastwood took over as the actor and director for the film and asked producer Bob Daley to fire Philip Kaufman.

The Eastwood Rule: How Clint Eastwood Replacing His Director Changed Hollywood

Philip Kaufman’s unexpected removal from the Directors Guild of America infuriated them as he had dedicated a large portion of his time on The Outlaw Josey Wales. The DGA fined Warner Bros. and Clint Eastwood $60,000 for their refusal to change their minds. The DGA also instituted “the Eastwood Rule,” which forbids an actor or producer from dismissing their director and then taking a seat in the movie directly, to make sure this never occurs again. Even though Clint Eastwood went on to direct The Outlaw Josey Wales and received fantastic acclaim from both critics and audiences, his altercation with Philip Kaufman behind closed doors altered Hollywood forever.

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