Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

FIRST PERSON | Clint Eastwood Explains Why He Usually Goes for the First or Second Take

By Clint Eastwood | Indiewire May 29, 2012 at 5:04PM

In the new book "Film Craft: Directing," Screen International editor Mike Goodridge (who was just named CEO of Protagonist Pictures) compiled interviews with 16 of the world's biggest directors, including Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth"), Pedro Almodovar ("Talk to Her") and Paul Greengrass ("Bourne Supremacy"), in which they talk about their approach to their craft.
3
Eastwood FilmCraft

In the new book "Film Craft: Directing," Screen International editor Mike Goodridge (who was just named CEO of Protagonist Pictures) compiled interviews with 16 of the world's biggest directors, including Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth"), Pedro Almodovar ("Talk to Her") and Paul Greengrass ("Bourne Supremacy"), in which they talk about their approach to their craft.

"FilmCraft: Directing," published by Focal Press, is now available for pre-order on Amazon

Below is an excerpt from the book: the main text of Goodridge's edited interview with Clint Eastwood, in which Eastwood shares his early experiences gaining perspectives on directing as an actor on "Rawhide" to agreeing to direct "J. Edgar."  He explains what makes a good actor and why he usually ends up using the first or second take of a shot.

----------------------

Over the years when I was an actor, I became interested in working with actors and found different atmospheres that I liked with different directors that made acting more compatible. The sets didn’t have to be nerve-wracking or bell-ringing or booby-trapped as it was with some. I started developing my own theories on it and incorporated all my experience into them. A lifetime in movies is the same as a lifetime in any profession: you are constantly a student. Every film is different and has different obstacles to overcome and that’s what makes it interesting. That’s why I continue to do it and enjoy the challenges of it. As long as you remain open to new ideas and developing your own philosophies as you go, it’s a very enjoyable process.

I took from everyone I worked with of course—from Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, and all the directors on the TV series “Rawhide” (1959–66). You see different people approaching things differently and you can tell when they have a certain amount of knowledge or when they’re faking it. Subconsciously I think you take from everybody. Sometimes when I am doing a scene, I try to think how so-and-so did it in that 1936 film. Or you remember seeing some effect as a kid and try to get the same effect. As an American kid growing up, watching Howard Hawks or John Ford or Alfred Hitchcock or Billy Wilder, you watched their work and it was amazing how they created certain excitement in their films.

When I did “Rawhide,” we had a lot of old-time directors who had stopped doing movies—people like Stuart Heisler and Laszlo Benedek. I had also done three weeks on a movie with William Wellman, and watched everything he did—how he approached things, how people responded to him, how he liked the sets, the atmosphere. I found out what he liked actors to do and what he didn’t like.

For me, it’s very important to have a comfortable and calm environment on set. It’s important that the actors are submerging themselves into the character to the greatest degree and the best way to do that is to give them full confidence and ensure they don’t feel like they’re riding a ship that’s on the brink of disaster.

Clint Eastwood on "Rawhide."
Clint Eastwood on "Rawhide."

Sometimes I rehearse with the actors, sometimes I don’t. Most actors have a pretty good idea coming to it, because it’s what attracted them to the role. Some are extremely instinctive and grasp the character right on. A great example of that would be Gene Hackman in “Unforgiven.” He had the character so perfect right out of the box on every shot, every sequence, and he really didn’t have to do anything different—he was amazing. Sometimes when I’m rehearsing for a camera move, the performance is so good that I just turn the camera on, not wanting to lose it. I’ve seen it happen in the past that actors come out really good at the start and then all of a sudden, they start killing it with improvements.

Sometimes there are actors who can drift in and jump in and out more easily. As a director, you have one relationship with them. Others need to stay in character and you have another relationship with them. I remember when we were doing “Rawhide” on soundstages, people would use megaphones to get everybody quiet and the more people yelled  “Quiet,” the louder the extras would yell and nothing was quiet. I realized that actors need a little bit of time to think, not feel pressured about the whole thing, because not all of them are extroverted people who can’t wait to clown around in front of a camera. They want to stay there and get into a role, and I want to keep them there as long as they want to be there.

This article is related to: Clint Eastwood, First Person, Directing






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More