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Here’s Why John Wayne Brutally Refused To Work With Clint Eastwood

John Wayne and Clint Eastwood are known as two of the toughest guys in Hollywood, so one would think that the two of them would have been friends. Surprisingly enough, however, this was not the case at all. In fact, Wayne once bluntly refused to work with Eastwood and slammed one of his most beloved movies. 

Wayne Slams Eastwood’s Movie

The Express [3] reported that the 1973 film High Plains Drifter was the first movie that Eastwood both starred in and directed. In one interview, Eastwood revealed that Wayne once wrote him a brutal letter in which he said he hated this movie with a passion.

“John Wayne once wrote me a letter saying he didn’t like High Plains Drifter. He said it wasn’t really about the people who pioneered the West,” Eastwood recalled. “I realized that there’s two different generations, and he wouldn’t understand what I was doing.”

High Plains Drifter was meant to be a fable: it wasn’t meant to show the hours of pioneering drudgery,” he continued. “It wasn’t supposed to be anything about settling the West.”

Check out a trailer for this movie below.

Related: Clint Eastwood Punched His Son In The Face For This – ‘It Was Old School’ [4]

Wayne’s Moral Code

Wayne was known for being a proud conservative who was against anything that violated his strong moral code. He wouldn’t even play characters that didn’t fit with his morals. He also refused to do anything onscreen that he felt dishonored America and its’ history. 

While Eastwood is a proud conservative as well, he has always enjoyed playing characters who have ambiguous morality. Later in 1973, he sent Wayne the script for what was supposed to be his next project, The Hostiles, which he thought would be perfect for the two of them.

This movie was to tell the story of a younger man who won half of a ranch that is owned by an older, more seasoned cowboy/rancher. The then-43-year-old Eastwood would play the younger man, and the then-66-year-old Wayne would play the older cowboy. 

Wayne, however, was not having any of it.

Why Wayne Wouldn’t Work With Eastwood

After rejecting the film once, Wayne was sent a revised version of the script. This time, he fired back with a brutal letter in which he explained why he had no interest in doing the movie. It was in this letter that he also blasted High Plains Drifter

Undeterred, Eastwood sent Wayne the script for The Hostiles one last time, and his son Mike handed it to him while they were out sailing. 

“This piece of sh** again,” Wayne reportedly told him before throwing the script into the ocean.

In his 1983 biography “Duke, A Love Story,” Wayne was quoted as saying, “This kind of stuff is all they know how to write these days … someone like me and Eastwood ride into town, know everything, act the big guys, and everyone else is a bunch of idiots.” 

Related: John Wayne’s Daughters Hit Back When Cancel Culture Renews Push To Destroy His Legacy [5]

Wayne And Eastwood Make Peace

After Wayne’s rejections, The Hostiles sadly never ended up getting made. Eastwood finally met Wayne when he visited the set of the latter’s 1976 movie The Shootist. Ron Howard, who was also starring in this movie, recalled that Wayne asked about Eastwood’s politics when he heard that he would be coming. 

After being told that Eastwood was also a strong conservative, Wayne was happy to be introduced to him!

Wayne tragically passed away three years later, but we’re glad to see that before his passing, he was able to have a positive encounter with Eastwood, who is still working in Hollywood today at the age of 92. Wayne would be happy to know that to this day, Eastwood is still as proud of a conservative as ever!