Why John Wayne Tossed Script for a Clint Eastwood Western Over the Side of His Yacht

by Quentin Blount
why-john-wayne-tossed-script-for-clint-eastwood-western-side-his-yacht

Could you have imagined a Western movie starring John Wayne and Clint Eastwood? There’s a chance that it could have happened. However, Wayne ended up throwing Clint Eastwood’s script of the proposed film over the side of his yacht.

We know that a lot of you Outsiders out there are big fans of classic film and television. When you sit down and think about some of the biggest stars in the Western genre, there are a couple of names that come to mind. Those would be John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Both actors were fan-favorites, major box office draws, and many of their movies are still considered instant classics to this very day. But there is a reason behind why Wayne and Eastwood never worked together.

In a lot of ways, Clint Eastwood represented a different era of the western film genre than John Wayne. Wayne was one of the biggest stars in the entire industry in the ’40s and ’50s and he didn’t exactly like the way Eastwood’s films portrayed the Old West.

So, when The Duke was approached by director Larry Cohen who wanted him to star in a movie opposite Eastwood, he declined. Henry C. Parke explained as much in his article, “The Greatest Westerns Never Made,” on The Inspiration Network’s website.

Parke notes that Wayne “politely passed” the first time he was approached about it.

“Eastwood optioned it again, and tried again, and this time Wayne rejected it,” Parke wrote. “Not for the story, but for Eastwood’s unsympathetic portrayal of townspeople in High Plains Drifter.

“Eastwood let the option go then, and Wayne’s son Michael, who liked the property, gave a copy of the script to Wayne yet again, while he was sailing on his yacht, The Wild Goose. Wayne threw it overboard.”

John Wayne Was Not a Fan of Clint Eastwood

To put it simply, John Wayne was just not a fan of Clint Eastwood. On the other hand, Parke makes it sound like Eastwood was excited at the idea of starring alongside The Duke.

“Clint Eastwood also didn’t manage to make a Western he very much wanted to do. In John Wayne — The Life and Legend, Scott Eyman talks about the Larry Cohen script The Hostiles (not the Tommy Lee Jones movie) that Eastwood optioned, hoping to make it with John Wayne.”

But not only did Wayne hate the script for The Hostiles, he never liked Eastwood as an actor. It’s too bad because, by the sounds of it, The Hostiles could have been a pretty awesome movie.

“In the story, Eastwood plays a gambler who wins half of Wayne’s ranch from him, requiring the two men who hate each other to live tother. Eastwood sees trouble coming, sells his half back to Wayne, and escapes. But his conscience makes him return to help Wayne fight off the bad guys.”

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