Recalling the golden age of Hollywood during the 1970s, the word “westerns” was spoken just for John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. The two icons could have changed the backdrop of Hollywood, but unfortunately never worked with each other. Instead, the American frontiers almost appeared as the cowboys facing a pistol duel against each other, after Wayne originated an offscreen feud.
It is only obvious to assume, given the ginormous fame of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, that the two held a grudge against each other. Well, to be precise, the duel broke out between the original faces of the Western genre, during the early 1970s, when Wayne humiliated Eastwood by criticizing his script and refusing to work with him.
Origin Of Clint Eastwood And John Wayne
Although Clint Eastwood is commonly known for his directorial work in the modern era, the 93-year-old initially emerged as a major movie star in the early 1970s. During that time John Wayne was already experiencing his glory days, through award wins and nominations.
Thus, considering Wayne as a Hollywood icon to look up to, Eastwood was steadily climbing up the ladder to stardom, like the late actor. Accumulating roles and cementing his legendary status in Hollywood, Clint Eastwood molded his career with the acclaimed original Dirty Harry and its sequels.
Soon becoming a cultural icon representing masculinity, Eastwood started mirroring John Wayne’s Hollywood growth. Further starting to try his hands at directing, the 93-year-old seemed destined to steal the spotlight from Wayne. Apparently, Eastwood’s growth threatened the Oscar-winning actor, which seemingly sparked the initial feud between the two.
John Wayne And Clint Eastwood’s Entanglement
Failing to appreciate Clint Eastwood’s Hollywood growth, John Wayne allegedly felt threatened by his position. Thus, while the duo could have been the old guard and the new face of Hollywood, Wayne originated an offscreen feud. Being the upstanding role of Western protagonists, the late actor seemingly hated Eastwood’s depiction of the Old West.
All this while, the offscreen rivalry between the two could have been easily disguised as a friendly competition. However, John Wayne simply eradicated that possibility after he turned the subtle feud into personal enmity. In 1973, Eastwood sent Wayne a script for a new project, The Hostiles, for the Oscar-winning actor to perform. However, the late actor purposefully refused the role.
Sending back the script with a personal letter outlining his reasons for refusing, along with some harsh criticism regarding Eastwood’s performance in High Plains Drifter, John Wayne deliberately crossed the line. However, without losing hope, Clint Eastwood sent a revised version of the script, which Wayne simply tossed out saying, “this piece of sh*t again,”.
Offended by Wayne’s thoughts towards High Plains Drifter, while failing to impress him with the script, Clint Eastwood no longer tried to work with John Wayne. And unfortunately, The Hostiles never made its way into production.