Eastwood defends historical accuracy
We know that I'm a big fan of historical accuracy in films, and that doesn't mean they don't have to be entertaining. However if you are making a film about an historical event, then show it how it was. Clint Eastwood believes that too, and so when Spike Lee attacked his film for not showing enough black soldiers, he came right back at him.
Lee was complaining about his Flags of the Fathers films and saying that they didn't portray enough African-Americans, whereas Eastwood was pointing out that the people who raised the flag were white, and that anything different would be changing history.
I can see Clint Eastwood's point when he says:
"The story is Flags of Our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn't do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people'd go: 'This guy's lost his mind.' I mean, it's not accurate."
"A guy like him should shut his face."
Okay, let's not make a big deal of that, and I hope Spike Lee doesn't either, it's probably one of those made in anger comments. Let's concentrate on the real issue.
Eastwood goes on to defend what he's done by talking about his other films, and actually he makes a lot of sense. He starts off talking about his latest film The Changeling:
"What are you going to do, you going to tell a [swear word removed - Richard] story about that?...Make it look like a commercial for an equal opportunity player? I'm not in that game. I'm playing it the way I read it historically, and that's the way it is. When I do a movie and it's 90% black, like Bird, then I use 90% black people."
He's quite right you know, and the other way around if he was distorting history this way he'd be getting attacked. Lee's comments, previously covered on Filmstalker, were far from accepting though:
"Clint Eastwood made two films about Iwo Jima that ran for more than four hours total, and there was not one Negro actor on the screen...If you reporters had any balls you'd ask him why. There's no way I know why he did that ... But I know it was pointed out to him and that he could have changed it. It's not like he didn't know."
Wow, harsh words, and I thought we weren't allowed to say that word any longer. Regardless I do understand that some of the beach storming scenes may not have had black actors represented, but Eastwood is right. The film was about the flag raisers, and none of them were black. There's no hidden message or conspiracy message in there, that's what happened.
Now I can see what's being hinted at here, Clint Eastwood is a racist film maker, and that's complete rubbish. All you have to do is look at his work and see that it's rubbish, I mean he's even about to make a film with Nelson Mandella as the lead character.
In that film the other lead is the white captain of the South African rugby team the Springboks. What Eastwood is saying is would Lee have preferred he be recast as an Asian woman in order to ensure that political correctness is fully covered? Actually maybe they should recast Mandella to be a Middle-Eastern single mother with a disability, now that would cover all the bases and to hell with historical accuracy.
Okay, I'm being daft now, but isn't this argument? Personally I believe the world has taken political correctness far too far, and often just swung in the opposite direction rather than taking a healthy middle ground, and this public argument that the two directors are having seems very reminiscent of that.
Yes there may not have been enough black actors to represent the huge storming of the beach, that I could agree with, however the film follows the flag raisers and none of them were African-American, that's history. Eastwood is not a racist and his latest film will show that, especially as it stars his becoming regular lead Morgan Freeman.