Clint Eastwood Once Saved a Classic Film From Production Limbo

by Joe Rutland

It comes as no surprise to anyone that Clint Eastwood loves making films as a lot of his career is definitely on the silver screen. One of his movies, though, gets stuck in production. This happens to movies sometimes. Some of them don’t get filmed in the long run. When it comes to Eastwood, he’s an absolute beast about both acting and making movies. One classic film on the Eastwood resume’ just about didn’t get done. He saved it from production limbo.

Which one are we talking about? It happens to be the 1995 film The Bridges of Madison County, based on author Robert James Waller’s book. In 1994, the impatient Eastwood found himself in the middle of a film mess. Yet this story goes back to 1991 and Steven Spielberg. The first choice to direct was Sydney Pollack. Screenwriter Kurt Luedtke was not able to get his hands around the work. Ron Bass didn’t cut the work much, either.

Impatient Clint Eastwood Takes Bull By Horns For ‘The Bridges of Madison County’

Who was next? Richard LaGravenese offers up a script that interested Eastwood. But there would be more drama. Bruce Beresford comes on to direct and screenwriter Alfred Uhry gets his hands on the script. Well, that gets messed up because Eastwood was more interested in what was in a previous script version. The Bridges of Madison County was on its way to finding a spot in failed movie projects. Eastwood had had enough. He reportedly tells Warner Bros chairman Terry Semel, “You guys have blown enough time. Everyone is going to move on to something else.”

Don’t tick off Clint. This book was a New York Times bestseller. And the film is going to get done. Would the chairman not like to have Eastwood on board? Heck no. What was the answer? Semel asks Eastwood to direct the movie. The actor says that he would need 24 hours to decide. He did and he would direct and act in the film.

Eastwood travels to Winterest, Iowa, on location. Well, the actor-director cuts out $1.5 million from the budget. Eastwood also wanted Meryl Streep for the lead role and he got her to come on board. This led him to finish principal photography on the movie 10 days ahead of schedule. The movie also would come in under budget. That’s always good news for movie studios. We get more from SlashFilm. On June 2, 1995, The Bridges of Madison County debuted in theaters and would score $10.5 million at the U.S. box office. This was during the movie’s opening weekend. But it really didn’t make a big splash in the long run.