There’s a punter’s chance that Scott Eastwood has frostbite. We’re on a rooftop in West London. It’s two degrees. (iPhone weather app ‘real feel’: -2oC).
Eastwood, bravely, is wearing a lightweight jacket – something James Dean would’ve rocked on a balmy summer’s night.
Fashion assistants, wearing approximately four more layers than Eastwood, are shivering. Their breath is visible. Momentary career regret is written on their faces – it’s that cold.
The moment we’ve been waiting for arrives: the clouds part and the golden hour light opens up a studio of cosmic proportions, the last nuggets of daylight dancing perfectly across Eastwood’s face. Camera goes snap. Magic is made.
Finessing a pose, Eastwood grabs a nearby iron ladder. He jerks back in shock.
“This feels like it’s been cold since the beginning of time. This has never been hot.”
Though his style is rooted in low-key Cali cool, Eastwood takes to high fashion with ease. “Looking good!” yells a jogger running by as Eastwood freezes his arse off next to an inner-city canal that backs on to the studio. “Thanks man!”
Back inside, between shots, we hear whispers of the night before – the night Eastwood’s all-American entourage touched down in London. They’re whispers of nightclubs and table service and models populating those serviced tables. Old Blighty, it seems, has already been good to the Eastwood clan. Even so, the 30-year-old has left a film set in totally preferable Marseille to be with us in this chilly misery. He flew economy class to boot. Yeah, dude’s got style.
We decide to do the decent thing: get the actor inside, in a cosy pub, and get a beer (and, possibly) a whisky in his hand. He’s earned it.
In a year’s time, it’s likely we wouldn’t be able to duck into a Kensal Green watering hole and sit down for a decent interview and accompanying drinks. Eastwood’s on the verge of a ‘moment’: having starred alongside a towering cast in the recent, murderous romp Suicide Squad (Leto, Smith, Robbie et al), he’s pivoting into something more sombre aboard Oliver Stone’s Snowden (the is-he-a-traitor biopic every American is waiting on) before he straps into the foot-to-the-floor eighth instalment of the Fast and Furious franchise.
To date, the kid’s most notable role was, beyond lucrative and visible deals cut with Persol (sunglasses) and Davidoff (fragrance), pashing Taylor Swift in the video clip for her single ‘Wildest Dreams’. For the record, he has zero beef with being flown to an African safari lodge and being objectified: “[My agents] were saying things like, ‘Why would you want to go be Taylor Swift’s boy toy?’ And I go, ‘Well, why wouldn’t I? Are you kidding?’”
There’s also Eastwood’s minor role in Brad Pitt’s Fury (he almost got in a fist fight with Pitt and co-star Shia LaBeouf on set – a disagreement about spitting tobacco, apparently) and starred in what was essentially The Notebook VIII, The Longest Ride. That effort exploded his female fan base (key demos: 16-24; 45+) and made him a staple Hot Guy Tumblr GIF – a crucial metric in the leading-man sweepstakes.
Of course, towering over all this is his lineage. Because towering over all this is a man named Clint.
Aside from his slightly increased height, this Eastwood is borderline indistinguishable from his father. You look at him and you immediately take in the jaw, the grin, the world’s most iconic brow – wondering what impact his mother’s genes actually had, if any. It’s as though Clint’s DNA bullied its way, alpha-grunting and dominantly wrapping itself around his son’s make-up.
It’s brilliant that Eastwood is famous by association. It’s brilliant that he’s So Damn Handsome. Yet, that can’t be it. A Dirty Harry squint and tremendous grin does not make a career. There tends to be a pivotal moment – a time for striding away from the homogenous sea of barrel-chested Nicholas Sparks heartthrobs to something more specific. The pivot takes many forms, whether that’s the oiled-up people-pleaser (see Channing Tatum in Magic Mike), the frat bro with a heart (see Zac Efron in Bad Neighbours) or the doll-fucking, indie-baiting enigma (see Ryan Gosling in… everything).
Because it’s one thing to inherit Eastwood’s mug, another to embody that raw machismo, that grit – that fight. At 30 years of age, this isn’t a story of a teen wunderkind. No, this is a fork-in-the-road period for Scott Eastwood. Time’s come to get a move on. And the question is – will this string of films be the springboard into Hollywood permanence? Or won’t it take – will Eastwood melt into the inky, lurking shadow of his famous father, never to be relevant again?
See, it’s easy to get caught in a shadow. What’s harder is realising that you can move.
Scott Eastwood’s birth certificate reads: “FATHER DECLINED.”
His mother, Jacelyn Reeves, was a flight attendant when she met the then-married Clint. Their affair reportedly lasted years – Reeves and Eastwood also had a daughter, Kathryn. And Clint would remain a key part of his son’s childhood.
Scott speaks reverently, deferentially, gratefully about his Dad. He proudly outlines the Code of Eastwood. Not once, in the 20 hours we spend together, does he challenge, contradict, demean, belittle, devalue, or question his old man.
Eastwood’s earliest childhood memories of his father remain vivid: poking around the film set on Space Cowboys; taking long helicopter rides up the Californian coast, Clint in the pilot’s seat. Every now and then, he’d let his pre-adolescent son handle one of the dual controls. Sometimes, Scott would get dizzy and they’d set the chopper down in a patch of Redwoods and eat turkey sandwiches.
“As a younger kid there was kind of an aura of greatness. Like, he’s my hero. Now, I think every opportunity is an opportunity to hear another good story. The guy’s like a vault of stories. I try to pry as many stories as I can out of him. All of a sudden, you’ll get to a topic and you’ll be like, ‘Whoa, you and Frank Sinatra did what together?’ It’ll be stuff like that and you’re like, ‘Wait, stop, I need to hear this. You’re not going to be around forever, so…’ —Scott Eastwood
One thing quickly becomes clear: in the Code of Eastwood, everything must be earned. Earlier in his career, wary of jeers of nepotism, Scott used his mother’s maiden name. At 17, while putting himself through school at Santa Barbara City College, Eastwood was clearing restaurant tables, riding his pushbike between work and class.
“I called [Dad] and was like, ‘I’ve got this job, can I get eight grand to buy a truck? I’m working this job, I can pay you back ‘X’ amount a month, you know,’ and I remember the phone going silent… And he’d just be like, ‘Yeah, no. You’re ne with what you’re doing.’ He wouldn’t give me a dime.
“And I don’t want to give him all the credit, because Mum had a huge part in raising me too, and making me a better man, but he de nitely was the hammer. I was… I was a hustler, a straight hustler to make it, and to get where I am. I love that. I still have that hustler mentality,” offers young Eastwood, leaning back into a leather couch, cocooned in the back of the pub.
Not enamoured with LA and all it encompasses, Eastwood junior moved away, further south, in his early twenties. (“Look at Chris Hemsworth, he moved back to Australia, right?”) In San Diego, he worked nights as a bartender and spent most days commuting to LA for auditions.
“I was learning fucking lines behind the bar. Closing at like 3am, and then driving up to LA the next morning after five hours’ sleep. I’d totally burn an audition, not do well, and drive back home, bartending that night, doing it again over and over.”
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