The Movie Clint Eastwood Claims Would Have Sent Him “Insane”


Throughout a career of genuine quality epitomised by remarkable performances of true masculinity, Clint Eastwood has emerged as one of the all-time greats of the ever-shifting world of Hollywood. A true icon of culture, Eastwood has proven time and time again his talent as both an actor and director.

With the likes of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Dirty Harry to his acting credits and further efforts in the director’s chair, including The Bridge of Madison County, Gran Torino, Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby and Letters from Iwo Jima, Eastwood is a paragon of cinematic excellence.

As one of the most acclaimed actors of all time, Eastwood invariably became one of the most sought-after stars — a bankable name to attract audiences. However, not every project he was offered was suitable for the iconic actor, and he once explained why he turned down the legendary Francis Ford Coppola Vietnam War movie Apocalypse Now.

“There were several other problems,” Eastwood once admitted. “Francis had been talking to Steve McQueen, and Steve had then recommended me. Steve wanted me to play Willard so he could play Kurtz. I said, ‘Steve, I thought they wanted you for Willard.’ And he said, ‘Well, I want to play Kurtz.’”

Eastwood continued, “I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Because I can do it in two weeks!’ I said, ‘That’s great, but what makes you think I want to work for all this time?’” It’s well known that the production for Apocalypse Now was rather torturous, but even before this became apparent, Eastwood had his suspicions about the project.


That didn’t stop Coppola from contacting him, though, and trying to convince the actor to take on the role. Eastwood, at the time, had just bought a house for him, his wife and his young children to live in, and when Coppola told him that he’d be away for around 16 weeks, he politely declined, though he said that if it were half that time, he might have reconsidered.

Apocalypse Now was eventually released in 1979, based on the 1899 novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, changing the setting from the Congo to the Vietnamese jungles. Starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando and Dennis Hopper, Coppola’s film is a genuine masterpiece and one of the best war movies ever made.

Time commitments were not the only factor for Eastwood to turn down the film, though. He said, “And I said I didn’t understand the ending. He said they were going to work on that.” The production went ahead without Eastwood and subsequently turned into one of the most harrowing filming processes of all time.

“Two years later, they were still shooting, and Martin Sheen had had a heart attack, and I thought: ‘Goddamn! That could be all of us!’ Eastwood noted. “I saw the documentary [Hearts of Darkness], and it was terribly amusing. Francis is a nice guy and everything, but two years — I would have gone insane!”