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.”