How Rawhide Started Clint Eastwood Down The Path To Becoming A Director

So Eastwood was dismayed to learn that, in brief, he wasn’t a big enough star to be considered for directing, and that when actors direct, it tended to go poorly (at least at the time). After the rejection, he didn’t push further, saying:

“[T]hey reneged on the episode because, at that time, several of their name actors on other television shows were directing episodes, not too successfully. So about the time I was getting set to do it, CBS said no more series actors could direct their own shows. So I called it a day.”

At the conclusion of “Rawhide,” Eastwood moved into a series of feature films that would earn him worldwide cinematic acclaim, namely: Sergio Leone’s celebrated Man with No Name trilogy. Still wanting to be more closely in charge of production, Eastwood managed to make a deal that would allow him to, if not direct, at least have some direct input into the script. Eastwood was allowed to do so because, as he recalled, the translation of the script from its original Italian was a little awkward. In his words:

“Then I went to work with Sergio Leone. He didn’t speak any English, I didn’t speak any Italian. So my agreement with the producer of the show was that I could rewrite the story. The stories were all the same, but the dialogue was terrible because it was interpreted by an Italian into English. I said, ‘You’ve got to let me rewrite some of this stuff.’ They said, ‘Fine.’ So I got more actively involved in the production over there.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Eastwood became a capital-letters Movie Star and has since directed 40 features. The “Rawhide” producers, it seems, only delayed the inevitable.

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