Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Morgan Freeman ‘Begged’ Clint Eastwood to Direct a Film That Landed Him an Oscar Nom

Morgan Freeman ‘Begged’ Clint Eastwood to Direct a Film That Landed Him an Oscar Nom

Morgan Freeman has worked with Clint Eastwood a few times in his career, yet one time may stand out more than the others. Freeman contributed superb acting efforts for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, two films that rank highly in Eastwood’s collection of work. In both of those movies, Eastwood not only was the director but had a lead role. He’s had enough experience in front of and behind the camera that other actors trust him.

So, Freeman found himself cast to play Nelson Mandela in the 2009 film Invictus. He knew about Eastwood’s work after having been so intimately involved in a couple of hits. When it came time to look for a director, Freeman knew who he wanted on the set. Yep, he sought out Eastwood…but it was not an easy sell.

“I begged him to direct Invictus,” Freeman said, according to Far Out Magazine. “It’s one of the few movies he directed that he wasn’t in.”

Morgan Freeman Follows Clint Eastwood’s Direction

In the movie, we see how Mandela helped begin to heal South Africa’s racial tensions through the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Freeman’s work was so good that he earned a Best Actor nomination from the Academy Awards.

Having worked with Eastwood let Freeman get an “insider’s view” into his process.

“I think Clint is an actor’s director,” Freeman once said in an interview. “He doesn’t direct actors. He directs movies. (And) he hires actors, and it’s your job. And I love that about him that you establish your own character; you play it and do what the scene calls for. [He’ll] have the scene set up.

“Cameras will be where we want them to be,” Freeman said. “Lights will be where we want them to be. And go for it. He never says action, and he never says cut. He’s his own person on a movie set. Wonderful.”

Just how close are Freeman and Eastwood as acting compadres? Consider this note from Freeman regarding Unforgiven and Eastwood. “I was in Africa when I got the call for Unforgiven (1992),” Freeman said according to IMDb. “Clint called my agency and made an offer for a Western. I was like ‘He called for me?’ It was jaw-dropping.”

Actor-Director Connection Has Been Fruitful

Sure, they’ve only worked on three movies together. But each time, Freeman and Eastwood have produced some wonderful films that people still talk about to this very day.

Matt Damon also had a role in Invictus, playing the captain of the Springboks from South Africa. One time, Damon talked about working with Eastwood on his set. He is used to getting more than one take when necessary to nail down a scene. Eastwood, though, has been known as a director who likes to keep things moving. If it can be shot in one take, then that’s fine with Eastwood. This process didn’t always sit well with Damon, but he worked on Invictus and Hereafter with Eastwood.

“You have to beg him for a second take,” Damon said in an Esquire feature on Eastwood. “I did once, and he said, ‘Why, so you can waste everybody’s time?’” The two of them have not worked together on a movie since 2010.

Right now, Eastwood is putting the final touches on his latest project, Juror No. 2. It’s said that this probably will be one of, if not the final, film Eastwood works on in his illustrious career. Following the arc of his career, Eastwood has taken himself from working on weekly TV in Rawhide to the heights of the film industry.