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Why John Wayne Turned Down Starring In A Western With Clint Eastwood

John Wayne turned down the possibility to work with Clint Eastwood on a Western just because he hated Eastwood’s a lot darker takes on the previous west.

Two figures stand tallest among the many historical past of American Western cinema – John Wayne and Clint Eastwood each have storied careers within the style, however once they had a possibility to work collectively on a movie in 1970, Wayne sadly vehemently denied the chance and turned it down. In justifying his response, the rationale behind Wayne’s resolution lay with each Eastwood’s star persona, in addition to the altering panorama of the Western movie style, in addition to the actual movie in query.

John Wayne is legendary for being one of many first big stars of the Western style of cinema. Discovering his begin within the Nineteen Thirties, simply as motion pictures that had synch-sound changed silent movies, he was the face of a whole period of Western cinema throughout a time when the style dominated the cinema panorama. Movies like John Ford’s Cavalry Trilogy glorified sure beliefs of that point, together with black and white morality, American Exceptionalism, and a optimistic view of Manifest Future. Extra nuance got here into Wayne’s persona with later releases corresponding to The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, however he by no means strayed removed from these beliefs. The Nineteen Sixties and ’70s and introduced a brand new period, heralded by motion pictures like Sergio Leone’s {Dollars} Trilogy, which had been a darker and extra violent type of Western. These newer varieties of Western started to characteristic extra ethical ambiguity and, at instances, their themes and ideas would problem carefully held American beliefs. Clint Eastwood, the American face of this new period, grew to become nearly as huge a star as John Wayne was himself on the peak of his profession.


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It was within the early Nineteen Seventies that an try was made to carry these two eras of the Western collectively by way of the 2 actors who embodied them probably the most. Larry Cohen, a director identified for B-movies corresponding to The Stuff and Q: The Winged Serpent, wrote a script for a Western titled The Hostiles. The script targeted on a gambler who received half the property of an older man, and the thought was that Eastwood would play the gambler and Wayne the older man. Eastwood was , however Wayne outright rejected the half. He did not just like the script, however much more than that he did not like Clint Eastwood as a director and actor or how the script mirrored the newer traits of the Western style. After Eastwood tried once more to pitch the movie to Wayne, Wayne responded with a letter explaining his reasoning. Within the letter, a significant level of rivalry was how a lot Wayne hated Eastwood’s latest movie Excessive Plains Drifter.

High Plains Drifter Clint Eastwood

Excessive Plains Drifter was a 1973 Western that Eastwood starred in, and it was the primary one he ever directed himself. It is an extremely darkish and violent movie that’s typically learn as a critique of the previous west, or a minimum of a really cynical portrait of it. Wayne hated it, and thought it did not correctly replicate the lives of, in his thoughts, noble pioneers who settled the west and expanded America’s borders. He noticed The Hostiles as extra in step with the spaghetti Westerns that made Eastwood well-known. To him, the script was a cynical reinterpretation of the sorts of characters and tales Wayne’s most well-known movies typically portrayed. Eastwood did not hassle to answer the letter.

Evidently, The Hostiles was by no means made due to this. A model of Cohen’s script finally acquired made into the 2009 television film The Gambler, The Woman and the Gunslinger however the world was by no means to see the 2 giants of the style on display collectively. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood simply got here up via completely different generations and completely different eras of Hollywood, and so they each had very completely different concepts in regards to the style that made their careers. They’re icons, and can ceaselessly be the faces of either side of the Western: its older traditions and its newer deconstructions.

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