by Latoya Peterson
When events in history are adapted for the silver screen, how accurate do we expect them to be? And what version of history does that present?
Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee have apparently gotten into a tiff about the historical accuracy in Eastwood’s films. New York Magazine’s Vulture blog summarizes:
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?
The actual Guardian article alluded to in the blog post clarifies Eastwood’s position a bit more:
“Has he ever studied the history?” he asks, in that familiar near-whisper. Continue reading