The Dark Reality Of Clint Eastwood

Philip Kaufman (pictured) wrote the script for the 1976 Civil War movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” then got bumped up to director because the film’s star and producer, Clint Eastwood, appreciated Kaufman’s creative liberties. In adapting the Forrest Carter source novel, Kaufman opted to have the bad guys relentlessly pursue Eastwood’s titular character for the entirety of the film rather than die early on like they do in the book. 

Once filming began, Kaufman’s slow, thoughtful, and deliberate directing style irritated Eastwood. Kaufman took as much time as he needed to frame shots and get the footage he was after; Eastwood preferred to shoot a scene quickly and without fuss, and move on. One scene took so long to capture that after Kaufman set off in the desert to find a particular location he’d scouted earlier, Eastwood insubordinately led a small group of crew members and shot the scene himself.

A few days later, and under Eastwood’s orders, producer Robert Daley fired Kaufman from “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” The new director: Eastwood. But this film was a union production, and thus subject to strict labor rules. When news of Eastwood essentially replacing Kaufman with himself got back to the Directors Guild of America, it passed a new provision in its standard contract. Nicknamed “the Clint Eastwood Rule,” DGA-affiliated productions cannot allow an actor, or actor-producer, to take the director’s job out from under them.

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