Clint Eastwood vs. Spike Lee

Photo: WireImage

Hooray for feuds! (Take that, Doree Shafrir!) Joining Werner Herzog and Abel Ferrara in the ranks of beefing auteurs are Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood. At Cannes a few weeks ago, Lee blasted Eastwood for not including any black actors in his duo of World War II movies, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. “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,” Lee said. “If you reporters had any balls you’d ask him why. There’s no way I know why he did that — that was his vision, not mine. But I know it was pointed out to him and that he could have changed it. It’s not like he didn’t know.”

Today Eastwood fires back in an interview with the Guardian, in which the director snaps, “A guy like him should shut his face.” He defends his movies by noting that no black soldiers were among the ones who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, which is true, but not exactly the point — Lee wasn’t demanding that Eastwood change a real-life person’s race. Those movies had plenty of soldiers in them, not all of whom were based on actual people (say, Marines 1–4 in Letters From Iwo Jima) — couldn’t one or two of them have been played by black actors?

But whatever, it doesn’t matter that much — everyone’s pretty much already picked a dog in this fight. As always, we’re just cheering for the fight itself, and more windy, outraged speeches from Spike, followed by more terse, clenched-jawed responses from Clint.

Update: Spike Strikes Back! Plus: Wait, Are There Black People in ‘Flags of Our Fathers’ After All?

Spike Lee gets critical in Cannes [HR]
Dirty Harry comes clean [Guardian]

Clint Eastwood vs. Spike Lee