Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Quotes of Legend - Clint Eastwood

This past Saturday, Clint Eastwood turned 78 and he's just a tough as ever!

A couple of weeks ago, Spike Lee was at the Cannes Film Festival trying to get some press for Miracle At St Anna, his World War II drama about the all-black 92nd Buffalo Division and he called out some Hollywood filmmakers, particularly Eastwood.

Spike Lee: "He did two films about Iwo Jima back to back and there was not one black soldier in both of those films. Many veterans, African-Americans, who survived that war are upset at Clint Eastwood. In his vision of Iwo Jima, Negro soldiers did not exist. Simple as that. I have a different version...If you reporters had any balls you'd ask him why. There's no way I know why he did that -- that was his vision, not mine. But I know it was pointed out to him and that he could have changed it. It's not like he didn't know."

The statements are not so much a critique on Eastwood's work, but a ridiculous accusation that he is racist. Not sure Morgan Freeman, Isaiah Washington, Dennis Haysbert, Mario Van Peebles, or Forest Whitaker would agree - all of whom have had great roles in Eastwood flicks. Lee's mentions that Eastwood did two movies about Iwo Jima, but neglects to mention one of them was from perspective of the Japanese, which had never been done before by an American director. But instead of praising him for his efforts he gets slammed.

Eastwood was at Cannes as well, promoting his new effort Changeling starring Angelina Jolie, but refused to respond to Lee's remarks until days later when in an interview with Focus magazine.

Clint Eastwood: "Does he know anything about American history? The U.S. military was segregated til the Korean War, and the blacks in World War Two were totally segregated. The only black battalion on Iwo Jima was a small munitions supply unit that came to the beach. The story was about the men who raised the flag and we can't make them black if they were not there. So tell him: Why don't you go back and study your history and stop mouthing off!"

The above quote is even more stirring if you imagine it in Eastwood's voice. The only thing missing is the word "punk" at the end!

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