How Clint Eastwood Bent the Law While Filming ‘Unforgiven’

by Joe Rutland

If there is one big rule about a Clint Eastwood movie, then it’s you don’t mess around with Clint one bit. This goes from actors who want to do more than one take – forget it – to where a film is done. It is really interesting to hear some back stories about his flicks. One of the most memorable ones is the 1992 film Unforgiven. Did you know that the film was done in Canada? Yep. And this almost didn’t happen at all. But it did and there’s a twist to it.

We will get to some of the lowdowns from cinematographer Jack Green in a minute. But there are some union rules in Canada that almost prevented Unforgiven from being filmed there. Apparently, there are some rules about a film crew. This is where things get kind of unique and, in a sense, fun. Canada apparently was able to bend its rules on behalf of the one-time “Man with No Name.” Green would talk about it a bit in an interview with Esquire.

Cinematographer For Clint Eastwood Reveals Behind-The-Scenes Secret

Green had gone to Canada for the cinematography of a film being done in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. An official from a Canadian filmmaking union asked when Eastwood would film a movie in Canada. Green simply answered, “Never, because he can’t bring his family.” This leads to another question from the official. “How big is his family?” was that question. Green said, “Fifty or sixty people who go everywhere he goes.”

OK. Well, that official got the drift that Green actually was talking about Eastwood’s film crew. A deal, then, was in the offing. For anyone who could prove that they’d been with Eastwood for more than five films, they could come up to Canada. The official also said that they would be able to work around the union work rules. “Well, that was everybody,” Green said, “and that’s how Unforgiven came to be shot in Canada.”

Now, Unforgiven produced an Academy Award for Eastwood. He was the director, producer, and lead actor in the film. Eastwood might be much older these days yet he’s not slowing down. While his work is beloved by millions, Eastwood almost found himself in a Sean Connery film. At one time, there was some chatter about him playing the famed James Bond. Why would he turn down this opportunity? It happened to be someone else’s gig, according to Eastwood. Of course, he was referring to Connery who, for many, always will be 007. A big payday was even in the cards for Clint to take the role. But he said no and film fans will never see him play Bond, even at this stage of his life.