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« on: September 20, 2011, 05:56:53 AM »

 This is an article published by Michael Hainey, GQ's deputy editor., in 2009 and this is long, but thinks it to be contents to be interested very much.

 When the most legendary badass in Hollywood decides he wants to make a sprawling, costly film about rugby and South Africa, well, who's gonna stop him? (Even when he titles it, um, Invictus.) Michael Hainey talks to Clint Eastwood about the well-earned art of doing whatever the hell you want

 By Michael Hainey Photograph by Martin Schoeller  December 2009

Clint Eastwood, pure and simple? Here it is: He gives a guy hope.

For all of us who have wondered if we'd ever achieve our dreams—when in our head all we can hear is the tick, tick, tick of the clock and that goddamned voice saying, "It's too late. You're too old to go for it. You'll never achieve it"—there's Clint. In this youth-obsessed world, the guy is the patron saint of late bloomers.

Think about it: His breakthrough role—playing the Man with No Name in those spaghetti Westerns? He's in his midthirties when he does those. He doesn't direct his first movie, the still riveting Play Misty for Me, until he's 40. And Dirty Harry? He's 41 when he makes that (and even then, he gets the role only after Sinatra pulls out).

But here's where things get really crazy. In 1993 he shows up at the Academy Awards with Unforgiven. He is 62 and has never won an Oscar. The film wins four, including Best Picture and Best Director.

And then this happens: The guy doesn't hang it up—he only starts getting stronger. He goes on a stunning run of creativity that a man half his age would kill for. Eastwood is now 79, and in the seventeen years since Unforgiven he has made fifteen movies. Three of those have been nominated for Best Picture, and he has been nominated for Best Director or Best Actor an additional four times. All told, he now has four Oscars, and his films have won another seven.

He has made sixty-six movies. He's acted in fifty-seven and directed twenty-nine. Now he's about to release his sixty-seventh: Invictus. He directed and produced it, and it's the true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) and the captain of the overwhelmingly white South African rugby team (Matt Damon) used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to bring the country together.

his hands are soft. And he might be the only guy alive who makes you envy crow's-feet. His eyes are a beautiful light blue.

I meet him outside a soundstage at Warner Bros., and he suggests we walk to his office, a little Mission-style bungalow in a shady corner of the lot. He walks with a steady, smooth gait—he's six feet three—and when he talks it's in a quiet, soothing voice. Not that crusty Dirty Harry thing.

Outside one soundstage, a taping of Ellen has just ended, and a gaggle of women spills out. As we approach, one or two of them realize, "Hey, isn't that—? It is!" But no words come from their agape mouths. Clint smiles and nods at them, tugs at the brim of a hat that doesn't exist, and says, "Ladies...." Then he keeps walking.

When we get to his bungalow, he's hungry. He asks if I want a sandwich, and I say yes. He shows me into what I guess you'd call the living room. There's a leather couch and a coffee table. Beside the couch there's a chair. Clint looks at the chair for a minute and then says, "Well, I guess you could sit down." I sit. Then he says, "I'll go make us some lunch."

The room is dark, and the only light is what's left of the hard, white afternoon sun that bounces in through the windows. It's a plain room. Aside from the furniture, the only things in it are an old upright piano and, on the wall above the couch, an Italian poster of Clint for Per un Pugno di Dollari.

A few minutes later, Clint comes back.

"Here's a sandwich," he says. "Hope you like it." He puts a plate in front of me: lunchmeat turkey, lettuce, tomato, and mustard on whole wheat.

Clint moves toward the sofa. When he sits, it's like one of those big Giacometti Walking Man sculptures trying to sit. He's all legs. It takes a minute, but finally he gets comfortable, extending his legs onto the coffee table, his sandwich in his lap.

In Invictus, that poem that Mandela quotes, the poem that gave him strength in prison and is the title of the movie—
By William Ernest Henley, yeah.

Did you know those were Timothy McVeigh's last words? He quoted that last couplet—
"Master of my fate..."

"I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul."
Well, if you're gonna go out, you might as well have a nice quote. [laughs] That seemed to be Mandela's favorite poem. I think we use it effectively in there.

Is there anything you'd sacrifice yourself for?
[long pause] I'm sure there is. But mine's more basic. It would be family. It comes down to the basic reason for the male being here, other than propagating, which is to defend and protect the family. [pause] But it would probably stay at that level. How far out the friendship chain it would go, I don't know. [laughs]

When you met Mandela, did you learn anything from him on how to be, how to live?
Eh, no, because he was a guy who had a lot of faults. He was not very attentive to his children. And he had problems with women. I guess he liked... Ah, I mean, there's nothing wrong with that.

He said with a grin.
His private life was probably not as great as his public life. He's a man underneath it all.

Do you have a code you live by?
Be honest with yourself. Honest with what you know and what you don't know. I just believe in being straight-ahead with people.

Your persona is all about physical toughness. But I think in your life and work what you value above all is mental toughness. It seems to me what you really abhor in people and society is mental weakness.
I think so. I mean, God gave you a brain. Do the best you can with it. And you don't have to be Einstein, but Einstein was mentally tough. He believed what he believed. And he worked out things. And he argued with people who disagreed with him. But I'm sure he didn't call everybody jerks.

Do you still meditate?
Twice a day.

How does that work for you?
It works great. Because it just gives you a chance to gather your thoughts. I'm religious about it when I'm working.

So how...
I visualize whole sequences in the morning, before I go. I believe in whatever self-help you can give yourself, whether you believe in Buddha or whatever. I used to be much more of an agnostic. I'm not really a person of an organized religion. But I'm now much more tolerant of people who are religious, because I can see why they got there. I can sympathize.

So meditation with me was just a self-reliant thing. I've been doing it almost forty years. But I don't go out and sell it. A lot of other people find meaning some other way, screaming in the street or whatever it is that gets it for you. Or checking out the girls. [laughs] No, I'm past that. I'm living in my state of monogamy quite happily. I never thought I'd get there, but I did. It feels good. I like myself better than I did.

You've never done drugs?
No. I got all the way through the '60s and the '70s on beer. I just never got into drugs. I always thought beer and a couple other things were about as good as I wanted to know about.... [laughs]

What's the "couple other things"?
Well, you know, just general sort of life experiences, that's about it. [grins] I just... If it got any better than that, I wouldn't want to know about it.

Tell me about your father's death, in 1970.
It really affected me. And I'm gonna tell you why, because he&just dropped dead.

And he was 63. You were almost 63 when you won your first Academy Award.
Yeah. [pauses] Well, I was up at Lake Tahoe with my wife and my son Kyle, who was 2 years old. And I got the phone call that my dad had just died. And it really got to me because of the usual guilt that people have, and you wish, "Why didn't I spend more time with him? Ask him to play golf more often or something? And hang out. And just say, 'Dad, let's go have a beer or something.' " But you sort of take for granted your parents are there; you think they're gonna be there forever, especially at that age. I guess a lot of people go through that. While I didn't feel I was singled out for anything, I felt it's probably the natural way to feel.

With my mother, it was different. I knew that she was into her nineties, and I knew that the time was gonna come fairly soon. And at 97, you're figuring, Is she gonna make it? My last words to her were, "Come on. Three more years and you make the big century!" And she said, "I don't want to do it." So I asked the cardiologist, "Do we put her on IV and get her going?" But he says, "You're gonna have somebody who is really pissed." And I said, "Yeah, I can't defy her wishes." So I let her go.

Did your father's death change how you lived?
He believed in hard work. Everything that built this country. "Nothing comes for nothing," he'd say. "You have to work for whatever you get." When I told him I wanted to go and be an actor and I was gonna drop out of school because seventy-five bucks a week sounded like a lot to me, he says, "God, don't do that. Continue your education." He says, "Don't get in this dreamworld $#!t." That was his deal. Yet he would have loved to have been an actor. He was a much more outgoing person than I am. He was the kind of guy everybody liked.

But once you succeeded as an actor, did he support you?
God, yeah. In fact he joked about all of that—"I told him not to do it!" He laughed at himself about it. I always wish he could have gone longer, to see Unforgiven. Which my mother did. She got to enjoy all that.

At this point, there's a knock at the door and a young woman comes in—one of his assistants.

"Sorry to interrupt, Clint, but your four thirty is here."

"My four thirty?"

"The doctor," she says. "Remember?"

"Oh, right," Clint says. "Tell him I'll be a few more minutes."

What do you have to see a doctor for? I ask.

"Eh, I gotta do an insurance physical before I start my next movie. They wanna see if I'm living."

He laughs.


" They just don't make then like this anymore ."      " I just don't meet then like him anymore !! "
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 06:12:30 AM »


Are you a spiritual man?

I'm spiritual in the way that I—things move me. If I look in the Grand Canyon, I'm moved.

Do you believe in the idea of a soul?

Yeah, I do. I believe you have a conscience and you have a soul. I don't know if it's injected into you; I think it's probably something inherited. Maybe it comes from your upbringing, or maybe it comes from experiences in life, successes or disappointments or a combination of all of the above. But I do believe in a soul. Soulful things, soulful music. Sometimes I think what it must have been like to be the first guy to circle around the moon and then come out from behind it and see the earth down there. Must have been some kind of moment.

Do you remember the last time you cried?

[long silence] Yeah, I don't think too much about it. I mean... Well, my daughter had a big white cockatoo. We get all the stuff from the ASPCA. The vet calls us and says, "Hey, we've got this thing here." And I say, "We can't have any more animals!" But my wife, Dina, is a sucker for them. She brings 'em home. This cockatoo had kind of a tough life; it didn't listen to people. The previous owners put it outside, and it got its wing torn off by a raccoon. But it was a good bird. And my 12-year-old loved it, and so did Dina. I'd drive all the way from Monterey to Los Angeles and I'd bring the bird, have him sitting on my shoulder.

You're like a road pirate.

Exactly. So one day I put it on the side of a fountain [at our house]. And I went in to talk to my wife, to make sure the bird went to the vet because it needed to get its nails clipped. And when I came back out it had fallen in the fountain and drowned. And I had to go tell my daughter about it. And my poor little daughter, she was devastated. So... [pauses, his eyes well up] I love animals. This animal was a pain in the ass, but he was a character. He gave everybody a lot of laughs.

People say that about you, too.

That's true. And they're right. We got all kinds of animals at home. Jesus Christ, we've got pigs, we've got chickens and birds and a rabbit. I got this crazy rabbit that just follows me around all the time like a dog. Augie's his name.

He lives in the house?

Yeah. This rabbit's crazy, and he just loves hanging out with me.


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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 06:42:21 AM »

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