Friday, June 06, 2008

Clint Eastwood Tells Spike Lee to Shut His Face

I cheered when I read about this: "A guy like him should shut his face."

I am sure a lot of people would have loved to have told Spike Lee to do the same thing throughout his career. Of course, Clint Eastwood, being as outspoken as he is, may not have been the best person to go after. And in a recent interview with The Guardian, Eastwood set the record straight.

Spike Lee was upset that despite the fact that hundreds of African-American troops fought at the Battle of Iwo Jima, there were not present in Clint Eastwood's two movies about the battle. Eastwood and the studios argument has been that they were staying true to the history presented in the book Flags of Our Fathers. "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 go: 'This guy's lost his mind'. I mean, it's not accurate."

Now let's do a little statistical analysis here: There were around 900 African-American troops at Iwo Jima out of around 110,000 American troops there. If those troops were evenly distributed throughout the main battle force, they would represent less than 1% of the fighting force, meaning that representationally speaking, if there were more than 100 actors on screen, then maybe 1 would be African-American. But that isn't how the armed forces worked during World War II. It was a time of segregation, and even though they did fight on the landing beaches, their individual units were given different tasks, like carrying ammunition. They saw action, I am not denying that, but Eastwood does seem to have a point.

Spike Lee is a filmmaker, and so he is in a great position to tell that story if he wants to. Part of me thinks he is only making an issue about this because he is trying to promote his own World War II movie, Miracle at St. Anna.

But I think Eastwood summarizes his issues with Spike Lee perfectly when in the same interview he said: "He was complaining when I did Bird. Why would a white guy be doing that? I was the only guy who made it, that's why. He could have gone ahead and made it. Instead he was making something else."


Megan said...

Clint is The Man.

MC said...

See, I appreciated the fact that Clint told Spike Lee WHY he should shut his face...

Megan said...

Yep, me too!

MC said...

Clint probably won some supporters from his peers as well.