LAS VEGAS – Clint Eastwood took center stage at CinemaCon on Wednesday during a lunch and Q&A reflecting on his career. The 84-year-old legend was on hand to receive an award from Fandango for “American Sniper,” his biggest hit to date.
“Sniper,” the story of U.S. sniper and Iraq veteran Chris Kyle, found surprising support from both sides of the political aisle. There were some outspoken dissenters, however, and during a conversation with THR's Stephen Galloway, Eastwood volunteered to clear up one particularly nasty rumor that had made the rounds regarding fellow Oscar winner Michael Moore.
In January, Moore made a number of comments about how he views snipers as “cowards.” These are opinions based on the fact his own Uncle had been killed by one during WW II. As you'd expect, the conservative media did not take these statements lightly and it created something of a firestorm even though it was really more of a general difference of opinion than a political statement.
“People said to me, 'What do you think about what Michael Moore is saying? That this film is that…' And I said, 'He's probably right. Any way you want to look at it is different. So, that's his opinion, so to it,'” Eastwood, a longtime Republican supporter, recalls. “Well, everyone keeps saying I threatened to kill Michael Moore. That's not true.'”
He pauses and then jokes, “It isn't a bad idea.”
That caused a wave of laughter in the audience, but Eastwood quickly added, “He's just expressing an opinion. I think once years ago someone asked me [what I would do] if a guy like him or somebody like that came with a whole film crew started filming me like they did with Charlton Heston. Unfortunately, Charlton was ill at the time and ailing with Alzheimer's, so it was a little bit of a downer when you read about it. But I thought, 'Well, he's on your property so I guess you can shoot him.' The old 'Get off my lawn.' That was fun to deliver”
Eastwood says he's never met his fellow Oscar winner, but noted, “I'm all for everybody whatever their attitudes are. That's what is great about this country. You can think whatever you want. Nobody has to agree with you.”
In other news, Eastwood surprised many industry watchers by revealing he's no longer working on the high profile biopic of Atlanta Olympic bombing hero Richard Jewell.
“We milled that around, but I don't know if that's going to [happen],” Eastwood says. “Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don't. That was an interesting one. I have several interesting things out there I'm kind of milling about.”
Last month it was reported that Eastwood was attached to the project that would have reunited “Wolf of Wall Street” stars Jonah Hill (as Jewell) and Leonardo DiCaprio (as Jewell's lawyer). There were some questions, however, if 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. could work out joint distribution and we can only speculate that might have had something to do with Eastwood bowing out.
On a lighter note, Eastwood also revealed Wes Anderson's “Grand Budapest Hotel” was the last movie he paid to see in a theater (“I liked it a lot”), he's looking forward to seeing his son Scott Eastwood's new movie “The Longest Ride” (he joked Scott is having more luck with the ladies than he is) and that he has no interest in doing a superhero flick even though he read comics as a kid.