SCOTT EAST­WOOD

GQ (Australia) - - INSIDE GQ - ADAM BAIDAWI WORDS TOM CRAIG PHO­TOG­RA­PHY ROSE FORDE STYLING

Arse man, and the chis­elled fu­ture of Hol­ly­wood.

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 fist­fight 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

“He’s like a vault of sto­ries... All of a sud­den, you’ll get to a topic and go, ‘Whoa, you and Si­na­tra did what?’”

you’re like, ‘Wait, stop, I need to hear this. You’re not go­ing to be around for­ever, so...’ 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 fine 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 def­i­nitely 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.” The next ques­tion is ob­vi­ous. East­wood has, to date, cast his son in four of his films. But they’re far from glam­our roles. For in­stance, not many re­alise Scott was in Gran Torino. That’s be­cause he only had a tiny smat­ter­ing of di­a­logue. The one scene he’s in mostly con­sists of Clint call­ing him a pussy. (Scott later ad­mits he was paid the SAG min­i­mum for his turn.) All of this earn­ing has given the young, hand­some, kinda-fa­mous East­wood some­thing rel­a­tively un­prece­dented: hu­mil­ity. He knows that this is a di­rec­tor’s medium. He ap­pre­ci­ates that this is a stu­dio busi­ness. He also knows that he could just as eas­ily van­ish from the pub­lic eye, never to be heard from again. “You’re a pas­sen­ger in a ve­hi­cle and you’re re­place­able. In­ter­change­able. There’s a mil­lion guys who could fuck­ing do what I do, and prob­a­bly mil­lions who could do it bet­ter than me,” he says, tak­ing a sip of Jame­son. “I’m lucky.” This much is clear: the Code of East­wood serves you well. Earn­ing ‘it’ serves you well – even when it doesn’t seem like it. East­wood re­calls a house party he hit up with his sis­ter. He was 16. “I had taken my younger sis­ter, who was, like, 14, to this party. I left, maybe to go get beer with the guys. And I left her and I didn’t think about it at the time. Later, Dad found out that I’d left her there.” Clint East­wood, all six-foot-one of him, slammed his teenage son against a wall. He wrapped his sinewy hands around Scott’s throat. And then he punched him, square in the face. “He popped me and said, ‘You don’t ever leave your sis­ter at a party. EVER.’ And it was very old-school, very old-school of him. He wasn’t afraid. None of this new-age bull­shit where you can’t even smack the kid be­cause ev­ery­one’s afraid of be­ing judged or what­ever. That wasn’t the way that shit went down in that fam­ily... If you did some­thing wrong, you were go­ing to get pun­ished. I learnt quickly – you don’t do that.” Con­sid­er­ing how chil­dren of Hol­ly­wood roy­alty tend to turn out, it’s a mi­nor mir­a­cle that Scott East­wood isn’t a shitty per­son. Ob­jec­tively, he’s ac­tu­ally pretty great. The big­gest con­tro­ver­sies he’s been mired in are the afore­men­tioned Pitt-labeouf-non-punch-on, and an in­ter­view in which he pub­licly re­vealed that Ash­ton Kutcher cheated on Demi Moore with his then-girl­friend. (East­wood says he re­grets dis­cussing it pub­licly.) In all, noth­ing that would reg­is­ter on the Richter. Ask Scott East­wood what pisses him off, and his an­swer is swift. “Com­plain­ers, whiny lit­tle fuck­ing brats. You just re­ally want to knock them out and be like, ‘You lucky, lucky, spoilt brat. You’re full of your­self. You’re so lucky, I would love noth­ing more than to knock you out, to show you how much of a lit­tle brat you’re be­ing.” More Jame­son ar­rives. Along­side some fussy tacos. “I just worked with an ac­tor, a younger ac­tor, you know, there were a few times I snapped on him. I said, ‘Get your arse over here! This is a job!’ And I could hear my­self, after I said it, I could hear my fa­ther in­side of me say­ing it, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m turn­ing into my fa­ther.’ You know, a lot of peo­ple aren’t raised like that any­more, where some­one is able to put them in check and say, ‘Hey, stop act­ing like an ar­se­hole, get over here, this is a fuck­ing job.’ That’s how my Dad would’ve done it. There’s a lit­tle bit of that lack­ing in so­ci­ety to­day.” After much dig­ging, and a few more whiskies, I ask each mem­ber of the East­wood en­tourage – per­sonal as­sis­tant Adam, Ever­est­con­quer­ing ad­ven­ture buddy Scott – about the most friv­o­lous, al­most-pur­chase they could at­tribute to their ac­tor mate. Char­ter­ing a helicopter from the film set in Mar­seille to Barcelona to hit up a party is the col­lec­tive re­sponse. That’s it. And East­wood didn’t even pull the trig­ger on it. It’s not to say that he hasn’t rev­elled in the fringe ben­e­fits of the East­wood name. And the East­wood mug. This crew sneak in their vices. They sneak in the good times. Once this Fast & Fu­ri­ous fac­sim­ile, Over­drive, is wrapped, they’re bound for Cuba. “I’m go­ing to meet my fu­ture ex-wife next week.” Scott East­wood loves Cuban girls. Scott East­wood loves plenty of girls. “It’s easy to fall in love when you’re young, right? And then you start to re­alise those feel­ings of love and stuff, pas­sion, love, lust, some­times they come very quickly, but they can also leave quickly.” He in­sists that bar­tend­ing is still the ul­ti­mate way to meet women. “That was prob­a­bly the wildest time... It still beats out be­ing in movies or what­ever. It still beats out all that, a thou­sand times.” Still, to con­tex­tu­alise the amount of fe­male at­ten­tion East­wood gets, you need only ask his en­tourage at the bar. Ask Adam. Ask the other Scott. East­wood’s 1.6m In­sta­gram

“Dad punched me. It was very old-school. None of this new-age bull­shit where ev­ery­one’s afraid of be­ing judged.”

fol­low­ers fre­quently spill over to his friends’ ac­counts, where they re­ceive a del­uge of DMS from PYTS ask­ing to be hooked up with the main man. “There’s an­other looker over there,” says East­wood for maybe the fourth time dur­ing the in­ter­view. “She’s kinda cute. The crazy thing about Lon­don is, it’s just the cen­tre of the uni­verse, the cen­tre of like the EU [well, not so much any­more]. This is it. You get girls from Spain, you get girls from Croa­tia, Ger­many, Slo­vakia... yeah, ev­ery­where, so it’s awe­some. They’re beau­ti­ful out here.” East­wood stands up, places a hand on my shoul­der and gets the at­ten­tion of Adam and Scott at the bar. “Dude, he’s com­ing out with us tonight!” he laughs, turn­ing to face me. “But you’ve got a girl­friend, so you’re, like, to­tally fucked! It’s good, it’s like, just ’cause you’re on a diet, you can still look at the menu, you know?” With an Uber on the way, and a lit­tle whisky left to neck, I ask East­wood a fi­nal ques­tion – that is, a fi­nal ques­tion for now. The kind of pre-pack­aged ques­tion you ask ev­ery­one, just to see if you get a bite. When’s the last time you cried? East­wood takes a long pause. He thinks about it. Sips a lit­tle more Jame­son. “I dated a girl a cou­ple of years ago who died in a car ac­ci­dent.” The words hang. And hang. And hang. “The fucked up thing is, it was a fen­der bender, and there was a re­call on airbags. Her airbag ex­ploded. It shot a pro­jec­tile through her body. It split her spine, and um... I’ve never told any­body that. I’ve lost friends be­fore; I’ve lost some great friends. But, I had never lost some­one I had been re­ally in­ti­mate with, you know, like in that way, in a re­la­tion­ship. I think that re­ally af­fected me in a way that... I don’t know. Maybe it’s made it harder for me to date.” The Uber ar­rives. “I still never called her fa­ther. I still haven’t found the right words.” For a mo­ment, the con­ver­sa­tion tunes out. The ice melts into the whisky and its punch is soft­ened.

1:14am. Toy Room club, May­fair. A ‘lit­tle per­son’ in a teddy bear suit de­liv­ers an LA­sized bot­tle of Belvedere to the ta­ble.

East­wood’s en­tourage has this friend-of-a-friend, Jordan, who owns bars across Dubai and Turkey and Lon­don and wher­ever beau­ti­ful women and cashed-up dudes are. Jordan’s ev­ery­thing you’d ex­pect: stub­bled, kind of greasy, hy­per-so­cial and tat­tooed by his in­ces­sant What­sapp no­ti­fi­ca­tions. Ear­lier in the night, at his cen­tral Lon­don apart­ment, Jordan raved about the busi­ness Bradley Cooper brought in after visit­ing his club, in­clud­ing the “Harry Pot­ter peo­ple”. I ar­rived late. After much hub­bub and Jordan What­sapps, a friendly lurch named Leon let me skip the door queue. Last night, ap­par­ently, the club was host to a gen­der ra­tio for the ages: an im­pos­si­ble ar­ray of women min­gling around a dwin­dling crowd of men. Tonight, more av­er­age. More com­pe­ti­tion. Shyly charm­ing Bri­tish dudes look like small fries next to the burly col­lec­tive of Cali-bros. How­ever great this joint was last night – and I’m sure it was – tonight’s still no slouch. Around every cor­ner, there’s an­other knee-buck­ling twen­tysome­thing Eastern bloc beauty, whose ex­pres­sion some­how reads bore­dom, an­tic­i­pa­tion, se­duc­tion and petu­lance. All at once. The East­wood clan speak about be­ing arse guys. (Amer­i­cans are al­ways arse guys.) In be­tween the Belvedere and the ban­ter and the deafen­ing A$AP Rocky beats, East­wood leans in to my ear. “It’s all fake as shit. It’s fun, but I know it’s all fake.” The ac­tor on the up­swing is that friend you’d hap­pily de­fer to – the one whose bold­ness and tak­ing-of-ac­tion usu­ally dic­tates how good or great a night can be. He talks to the girls. He ban­ters with the guys. He in­tro­duces ev­ery­one to ev­ery­one. He’s a value-giver. For what­ever idea we might con­jure about be­ing a good-look­ing, bor­der­line-fa­mous dude with oo­dles of cash, for be­ing some ge­net­i­cally blessed ben­e­fi­ciary of nepo­tism, he still hus­tles in­side the club. Even here, Scott East­wood has to earn it. He al­ways ini­ti­ates. Al­ways with the, “Hello, wow, you all have beau­ti­ful eyes.” Al­ways quick to shake hands, to grin big, to touch a shoul­der. “Sis­ters!!” Adam and Scott sud­denly yell in uni­son. The two girls they’ve met are both stun­ning, both in red dresses. Mickey and Jenny are Ja­panese-swiss, im­pec­ca­bly well spo­ken and su­per-pleased to meet ev­ery­one. Even­tu­ally, we duck into the back-back area (ap­par­ently May­fair clubs have in­ner lay­ers civil­ians aren’t re­motely aware of). It’s pretty much just a kitchen full of smok­ing east­ernEuro­pean dudes. I talk to a Slo­vakian guy who works be­hind the bar, leav­ing East­wood to chat up the eth­ni­cally am­bigu­ous Me­lanie. Me­lanie is bright – she makes eye con­tact and smiles toothily, even when she’s say, steal­ing your lighter. A part-time model, part-time stu­dent with a bit of cheek, we learn that Me­lanie is also part Cuban. Leav­ing Scott and Me­lanie alone, I talk to Mickey, one of the sis­ters. Turns out, the two aren’t re­ally re­lated – they’re not even both Ja­panese. They just say they’re sis­ters be­cause “it makes things eas­ier.” What­ever that means. Mickey liked Scott. A lot. “He’s not a douche. I kind of thought he would be ar­ro­gant but he asked a lot of ques­tions and seems to hate fake peo­ple. He’s a good guy.” It’s now 5am – my body aches from the cock­tail of vodka, Red Bull, one-lin­ers and re­lent­less trap mu­sic. I look over to see more sweet noth­ings be­tween East­wood and Me­lanie. Time to leave them be. I weave through the strag­glers as the room’s light­ing be­comes harsher. I dodge past the gurn­ing, sweat-rid­dled Brit Bros, past the bored, petu­lant and se­duc­tive Eastern bloc girl by the bar – who hasn’t moved much the past few hours – and then out­side, past Leon, into the freez­ing cold. Cloaked Bos­nian women are try­ing to sell flow­ers and cig­a­rettes, tug­ging at ev­ery­one’s coats and mak­ing their pleas. Any charm left in the night is gone. The race has been run. It’s time to go home. In every way, the night was char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally Scott East­wood: the door is opened for you. Sure, you can cut the queue. But once you’re in­side, your fate is in your own hands. Once you’re there, it’s all about you. Snow­den is in cin­e­mas Septem­ber 22

“The last time I cried? I dated a girl a cou­ple of years ago who died in a car crash. It’s made it harder for me to date.”

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