Clint Eastwood himself is something of a superhero. The actor has brought to life some of cinema’s most badass characters and, even now, is still working past age 90. But in a past interview with The Los Angeles Times, Eastwood revealed that he decidedly passed on playing the OG hero: Superman.
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s… Clint Eastwood?
In 2010, Eastwood sat down with comics journalist Geoff Boucher to discuss what might have been. At that time, the country was going undergoing the start of its modern superhero craze — which has only intensified after a decade of consistent Marvel blockbusters. But speaking to Boucher, Eastwood had only one thing to say: “Thank God that I didn’t have to do that.”
Eastwood revealed that during the 1970s, he’d been approached early on to play the Man of Steel. “I can remember — and this was many years ago — when [Warner Bros. President] Frank Wells came to me about doing Superman,” he said. But went on: “I was like, ‘Superman? Nah, nah, that’s not for me.'” It’s true, of course, that Eastwood had made his name on grittier roles. The Man with No Name and Dirty Harry are not exactly family fare.
“I always liked characters that were more grounded in reality,” Eastwood said. “Maybe they do super things or more-than-human things — like Dirty Harry, he has a knack for doing crazy things, or the Western guys — but, still, they’re not caped crusaders.”
Then again, the same year that Superhero premiered — with newcomer Christopher Reeves in the title role — Eastwood starred in Every Which Way But Loose. Paired up with a goofy orangutan, the comedt was not a very cool alternative to playing a spandex-clad superhero.
Still, Eastwood made the right choice. Grossing more than $100 million on a minuscule budget, Every Which Way But Loose was one of Eastwood’s most profitable films. It also spawned the successful sequel, Any Which Way You Can. Plus, Superman introduced the world to the beloved Christopher Reeves.
But that was apparently not the only major role Eastwood turned down.
Shaken Not Stirred
During the same interview with Geoff Boucher, Clint Eastwood said that he had the chance to play Agent 007. “I was also offered pretty good money to do James Bond if I would take on the role. This was after Sean Connery left,” he explained. “But to me, well, that was somebody else’s gig. That’s Sean’s deal. It didn’t feel right for me to be doing it.”
Of course, Eastwood didn’t realize that Connery could indeed be replaced as Bond. Six times, in fact.