How Clint Eastwood Developed His Famous ‘One Take’ Policy as a Director

by Joe Rutland
how-clint-eastwood-developed-his-famous-one-take-policy-as-a-director

When it comes to movies, Clint Eastwood has done his fair share as both an actor and director and has proven to be adept at both. What is different about an Eastwood movie? He likes to keep the pace moving on his film sets. You will hear some actors balk at getting things done in one take. After all, they want the best performance to appear on the big screen. Not some bumbling, half-effort type of thing.

Yet Eastwood just is really down on doing things in one take and moving. Why is this so and where did he develop this pattern? If you know something about the Eastwood movie history, then you’ll remember that he worked with Sergio Leone. That was back in the days of the “Man with No Name” which he played splendidly.

Clint Eastwood Paid Attention To Work Of Sergio Leone on Movie Sets

But he also paid attention to how Leone worked on film sets. Eastwood probably took mental notes as he observed Leone’s pacing and direction. They would play a part in his own style. Eastwood has also been in the TV world, too, with his role on Rawhide. Doing TV shows is different than movies, of course, yet the way things were done could find a way into Eastwood’s movie style. The famed actor and director had some thoughts about these first-take moments.

“Artistically, though, I like to see the person the first time the situation ever crosses their brain and the first time it goes through their eyes and the first time the words come out of their mouths,” he told Esquire. In another interview, Eastwood said, “It’s more that I want to get the feeling that we’re moving. You have to keep the crew and the production going at a business-like pace so they get the feeling they are part of something that’s actually moving forward.”

Actors Have Their Own Responses To Director’s Unique Style

Alright, we have heard from Eastwood. Yet actor Jeff Daniels, who was part of an Eastwood movie cast, talked with The Telegraph about the direction and that one-take thinking. “You know you have to be ready because it’s one take,” Daniels said. “And you can’t believe it. You’re told and you’re ready and there it is. You get one take, and you move on. You’re just like, ‘Really?’ And he goes, ‘Oh, we’re good.’ And by the time you ran that little two-line exchange, the camera’s already being moved and lights are being taken down. Lunch is being served.” Eastwood happened to shoot down a request from actor Matt Damon regarding his work with a question. Damon asked for a second take. Eastwood’s reply? “Why, so you can waste everybody’s time?”

Outsider.com