Clint Eastwood Was Thankful He Turned Down Two of the Biggest Roles in Hollywood History

by Sean Griffin

Iconic actor and filmmaker Clint Eastwood once revealed that he could have received two of the biggest roles ever. However, when looking back on his storied career, he regrets nothing.

He said: “That was a long time ago. I was a little more pumped.”

Eastwood recounted one of the famous roles he almost took. “I can remember – and this was many years ago – when [Warner Bros. President] Frank Wells came to me about doing Superman.”

“So it could have happened. This was when they first started to think about making it.”

He continued. “I was like, ‘Superman? Nah, nah, that’s not for me.’ Not that there’s anything wrong with it. It’s for somebody, but not me.”

However, he went on to reveal he would’ve loved taking a different comic book role after being a fan during childhood. “The Sub-Mariner, that’s the one I always liked. I had all of those comics when I was a kid.”

While Superman eventually hit theaters with Christopher Reeve, Eastwood enjoyed mainstream success the light-hearted Every Which Way But Loose.

But, at the time and later, his biggest fear remained that a similar role risked overshadowing his entire career.

He said, “That was part of the consideration, a big part. Look at Reeve, he was excellent. That was a big factor. You get a role like that, and it locks you in a bit.”

“True, I had the western genre and the Dirty Harry role, but everybody made westerns and did cop movies; they didn’t seem as bad.”

The star also explained that confessed he preferred grittier, more down-to-earth roles, albeit ones with hero qualities.

Eastwood once told the LA Times: “I always liked characters that were more grounded in reality.”

“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.”

For Superman, that makes sense. However, that explanation doesn’t add up for the other iconic role he turned down.

Clint Eastwood Could’ve Been Superman or James Bond

It was huge news when Sean Connery announced he was done with the James Bond once 1967’s You Only Live Twice wrapped production.

Producer Albert Broccoli called none other than Clint Eastwood to replace Connery. He believed his physicality and starpower suited the role perfectly.

The actor-turned-director Eastwood recounted the moment. “I was also offered pretty good money to do James Bond if I would take on the role. This was after Sean Connery left. My lawyer represented the Broccolis  and he came and said, ‘They would love to have you.'”

However, Eastwood’s reason for turning down the film was different than last time. For Superman, Clint Eastwood didn’t want to become typecast or associated with comic book films necessarily. However, this time, he felt Connery owned the role.

“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.”

In the end, everything turned out well for one of Hollywood’s most iconic leading men and directors.