'Shut His Face'
At the Cannes Film Festival Spike Lee called out Clint Eastwood and his films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima saying:
"There were many African-Americans who survived that war and who were upset at Clint for not having one [in the]. That was his version: the negro soldier did not exist. I have a different version. Times Online was on hand and asked Eastwood about the comment to which he didn't reply, but he has broken his silence.
"Here's the paradox," he said. "These African-American men wanted to fight against fascism in the name of democracy. At the same time, they were still second-class citizens." Although Lee emphasised his respect for Eastwood as a film-maker, he claimed that the director had been told of the African-Americans who fought at Iwo Jima, and had chosen to ignore that "information".
In an interview with The Guardian Eastwood answers the questions head on:
"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-AmericanThe final paragraphs are the most revealing when it comes to Eastwood's opinion on the matter: in there, people'd go: 'This guy's lost his mind.' I mean, it's not accurate." Referring to Lee, he added: "A guy like him should shut his face."
Defending the racial make-up in his films as historically accurate, Eastwood referred to another of his films, Changeling, which was set in Los Angeles before the city had a large group of African-Americans. "What are you going to do, you going to tell a fuckin' story about that?" he said. "Make it look like a commercial for an equal opportunity player? I'm not in that game. I'm playing it the way I read it historically, and that's the way it is. When I do aIn fact Morgan Freeman stars as Mandela in the and it's 90% black, like Bird, then I use 90% black people. Human Factor, of which Matt Damon also just joined.
"He was complaining when I did Bird (the 1988 biopic of Charlie Parker). 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."
Eastwood's next project, The Human Factor, will be about Nelson Mandela's attempts to foster national unity in post-apartheid South Africa. Asked if he would remain historically accurate with depictions of the former president, he said: "I'm not going to make Nelson Mandela a white guy."