Before he was asking punks if they felt lucky, escaping Alcatraz or hanging out with a pet orangutan, Clint Eastwood rode horses across Italy in a series of Spaghetti Westerns directed by Sergio Leone.
With all due respect to Harry, Frank Morris and Philo Beddoe, but characters like Joe, Monco and Blondie from the Leone films of the mid-1960s are the most standout roles in the 89-year-old actor’s career, even though he hasn’t been in a Western since 1992’s Unforgiven.
Eastwood made his name playing those strong, silent cowboys when he was in his early 30s, about the same age his 33-year-old son Scott is now. And, like his father did at the same age, the younger Eastwood is starting to find his way as an actor.
Following appearances in automotive action movies like Overdrive and The Fate of the Furious, Eastwood has been cast alongside Jason Statham in the upcoming Guy Ritchie vehicle (pun intended) Cash Truck. As Eastwood explains, it wasn’t a conscious decision to do so many car flicks (you can throw Gran Torino on the list based on its title alone), but it’s also not something he’s upset about.
“It’s probably a little bit by accident, but a little bit because I’m into it,” he tells InsideHook. “I think that cars are cool and I’m definitely a fan of automotive history. I drove an old Ford in The Longest Ride, which was cool. I’m a classic car guy myself. They’re simple, easy to work on. They’re just fun.”
The younger Eastwood, who is even more connected to the automotive world thanks to a partnership with Kelley Blue Book and teamed up with the brand for its Best Buy Awards, fell in love with cars after he used the California-based vehicle valuation service to purchase his first ride, a 1991 Ford Crown Vic.
“I drove that thing until it pretty much erupted,” he says. “Ever since, I’ve kind of been a car guy. In California, where I grew up, there’s a big car culture. I’d cruise the beach and meet chicks. I mean that’s what every guy in high school does, right?”
These days Eastwood lives in Texas, and he’s traded in his Crown Vic for a 1972 Chevy Cheyenne pickup.
“It’s a classic,” he says of his truck. “My favorite place to drive is probably the Hill Country. It’s beautiful out there. It’s so quiet and gorgeous.”
Given all the connections, does Eastwood want to be associated with car chases and leather jackets the same way his dad is with gunfights and ponchos?
“I don’t know if I think about it like that,” he says. “I think more it’s just the movie, right? Do I feel something great when I read it? Am I into doing that role? That’s sort of how I evaluate it. I don’t know if you could think of it … My dad fell into those movies. It’s not like he planned all that by design, those Westerns. It just sort of happened.”
Being typecast, he tells us, isn’t a big concern.
“I’ve done everything from romance to action to suspense,” Eastwood says. “I feel like I’ve thrown some darts at some different boards and am going to continue to do so. I’m looking for interesting characters and for good movies that I would want to watch and enjoy. If it’s a movie that I don’t really get or I don’t really particularly want to go to the theater and see, then it’s not really for me.”
Next up for Eastwood is Cash Truck, which is based on a 2014 French film of the same name and started shooting in Los Angeles last month. As for what to expect?
“It’s a badass Guy Ritchie film,” Eastwood says. “He pretty much does no wrong. So I’m super excited about it. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be intense. It’s going to be masculine. It’s going to be a fun ride.”
Appropriate word choice.
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.