“I don’t need to be at the right parties. That’s all garbage. I’m in this business because I like making movies.”
Scott Eastwood is not the kind of guy that stays still for long. He’s not fidgety. He just prefers to be busy. “You only get one life,” he says, swinging a golf club over and over. “Might as well live it up.”
We’re in a third-floor room at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, which is as good a place as any to talk about Hollywood’s Golden Age. “I like the 50’s and 60’s,” says Scott, surveying the room. “Anything that pays tribute to the old Hollywood aesthetic is cool with me. It’s timeless. It will never go out of style. There were real movie stars and great scripts. They really got it right.”
There’s no golf on the day’s schedule; the irons are props. And he knows what I’m going to ask. “So, what’s it like to be the son of…? I’m asked it every time. I expect it at this point.” Scott’s version of the question is revealing for what he leaves out: the name of his father, Clint Eastwood. More daunting than describing his relationship with his dad is trying to explain what it’s like being the “of;” a part of a larger whole.
“Some of my earliest memories are being on set with my dad,” he says, easing into the familiar routine. “That was just work – busy people all over the place with no noticeable degree of difference between them. There wasn’t some unusual quality called fame. Even when I eventually got camera time, I didn’t get special treatment. If anything, my dad was harder on me.”
He auditioned for every role he’s ever landed, and also for the ones he didn’t. Bearing the name Eastwood is no guarantee for employment, he says. Even if it was, when he started out, he didn’t have that voucher.
“Everybody wanted to rep Scott Eastwood,” he says, “not Scott Reeves,” the maternal surname he kept well into his career. “I could’ve done a western years ago. I read a ton of scripts. The reality is that the new westerns are shit.”
Early on, his reps may have counted on an overnight success. But Scott wasn’t ready to cash in on his name. “I wanted to play against all that. I like the medium of film. The constant learning process. There’s not one point where you can go, ‘Now I can do it.’ Being an actor and being a celebrity are different things.”
“Besides, I didn’t want to be in a shitty western no matter how much money was involved.” His patience paid off. Scott’s been a working actor for nearly ten years now, nabbing parts in big productions like Flags Of Our Fathers, Gran Torino and Invictus, as well as independent films like Carmel, Enter Nowhere and Epic. With each new project he’s taken on bigger parts, and even received some praise, as he did for his role as lawman Carl Hartman in 2013’s Texas Chainsaw 3D. With four movies in post-production already this year, his name is rising up the end credits as quickly as it’s rising up the A-list.
One project is a film written and directed by David Ayer (End Of Watch, Training Day), that’s currently untitled, but features Eastwood alongside Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf in a Sherman tank, fighting Nazis. He was also named one of People’s “Sexiest Men Alive,” which they can never take away from him.
Specifically, it’s his eyes; deep-set sparkling apertures that focus down to a sharp intensity. When wrinkles appear at the edges, the next words you expect to hear are, “Do you feel lucky?” It’s hard to resist comparing the young Eastwood to the elder.
“I mean, nobody ever asks me about my mother,” he says, bagging the 7-iron. “She’s, like, my best friend. She loves me unconditionally. Part of the reason I think of myself as level-headed is because of her. She’s not in the limelight and doesn’t care to be.”
Neither, it seems, does Scott. We’ve seen little of him by design. “There’s a reason I don’t live in LA,” he says. “I’d rather be in Solana Beach at my bar [The Saddle Ranch] with my friends. My anonymity is very important to me. I don’t need to be at the right parties. That’s all garbage. I’m in this business because I like making movies.”
Scott’s a big guy, having built his strength in the outdoor spaces of suburban California and the waves of Hawaii. He takes a seat on a wide wooden desk that bends beneath his heft, his hands gripping the edge. “My father never pressured any of [his children] to go into the movie business,” he says. “All he ever said was, ‘Whatever you do, do your best at it.’ If I didn’t do this, I’d be a fireman; something super-active that challenges you and is different every day.”
His favorite movies are action and comedy. “Blazing Saddles. Braveheart. I remember watching Unforgiven as a kid and thinking it was the coolest thing. And Shawshank Redemption? When Andy tells Red about Zihuatanejo, the little town on the Pacific coast of Mexico? I fucking love that scene. Its title quote is my motto. It’s a bit of a cliché, but who cares: ‘Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.’”
“I could’ve done a western years ago. I read a ton of scripts. The reality is that the new westerns are shit.”
He surfs. He fishes. He stays active. “There’s more to me than acting,” he says. “I don’t let acting control me. I wouldn’t know how to live an enjoyable life if I let it. All those experiences that expand the goal posts make you a better actor,” he says. “But being on set is still the best practice for a young actor. You get comfortable in the chaos. The more time clocked-in, the more you don’t give a fuck about anything but being true and delivering. In some ways it still takes fearlessness. The best actors are the fearless ones.
That said, he thinks a lot of people take the whole game too seriously. “That’s fine, that’s their thing,” he says. “But I’m not going to take it so seriously that I’m unkind to other people. We’re all just human beings working together to make something, and the part I do is called acting. Fuck, it’s just make believe.”