LOS ANGELES, May 31 — Movie legend Clint Eastwood turns 90 today , but don’t count on the famously stoic and hard-working star of A Fistful of Dollars and Dirty Harry hanging up his cowboy boots just yet.
The multiple Oscar-winning actor-turned-director, who churned out nine films in his 80s, has expressed no desire to retire ahead of the milestone — and in any case, he’s not a fan of birthdays.
“We’re just going to do a family thing — very, very calm, very mellow,” his 34-year-old actor son Scott told Access Hollywood.
“We’ll sneak a cake in there, definitely. He probably won’t like it.”
Eastwood, born in 1930, has enjoyed a career spanning seven decades and more than 50 films.
He last trod the Hollywood red carpet as recently as November, for his Olympic bombing biopic Richard Jewell.
It was released to mixed reviews — and sparked a backlash over its fictional depiction of a real-life female journalist trading sex for FBI secrets.
But Eastwood’s career has weathered greater controversy, from accusations of excessive violence in the spaghetti Western Dollars trilogy, fascism in Dirty Harry and warmongering in American Sniper, to his portrayal of racism in Gran Torino.
As well as Oscars for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, and a lifetime achievement Palme d’Or from the Cannes festival, Eastwood’s back catalogue also contains a few critically savaged flops.
“I would like to think it rolls off his back... he’s gotten beat up along the way pretty regularly,” Variety senior vice president Tim Gray told AFP.
“I think he’s going to keep working as long as he can... he seems to have a creative drive that keeps him going.”
‘Just wants to work’
Known on the Hollywood circuit as polite but reticent as far as small talk or personal details, Eastwood has hinted at future projects, but had not yet confirmed any plans before the coronavirus pandemic shut down all productions in March.
In a January interview with Britain’s ITV, Eastwood indicated he was still enjoying plying his trade.
“I like doing it, it’s nice to be able to have a paying job,” he told This Morning.
“I like being in films, I like making films and I started directing films because I thought one day I’m going to look up on screen and say, ‘That’s enough, Eastwood — you’d better do something else.’”
In other interviews, he has expressed confusion as to why luminaries such as Billy Wilder and Frank Capra quit the business at a younger age, and spoken of his desire to keep working as long as he finds projects that are “worth studying.”
Despite previously announcing his retirement from acting after 2008’s Gran Torino, Eastwood returned in front of camera four years later in Trouble with the Curve, and again in 2018’s The Mule.
“He’s pretty unpredictable,” said Gray, adding: “I get the feeling now, he does what he wants to do.”
As well as continuing to oversee his Malpaso Productions, Eastwood — a former mayor of Carmel, California — remains politically engaged, endorsing Michael Bloomberg’s doomed presidential run earlier this year.
And as a father of eight children and a grandfather many times over, Eastwood will likely have his hands full today — even if he isn’t asking anyone to “make my day.”
“He probably won’t even want us to acknowledge it. He hates his birthday,” daughter Alison told Closer late last year.
“I think he just wants to work and enjoy his life but I don’t think he wants to celebrate it... So we’ll see.” — AFP