Mystic River

This iconic thesp drew on his observational talents, working around such helming greats as Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, to combine acting and directing careers as seamlessly as anyone ever has. “Acting to me is a very organic art form, and you just go and do it,” Eastwood explains. “And I like to direct the same way that I like to be directed.”

Eastwood cut his helming teeth in the early 1960s, directing promos for “Rawhide,” the TV Western series he co-starred in. That eventually led to his directing debut with “Play Misty for Me” in 1971. Since then, he’s taken 24 turns behind the camera, including 1992’s “Unforgiven,” for which he won DGA and Academy honors.

This year, another dark story, “Mystic River,” has given him the best reviews of his career. But even for someone as revered as Eastwood, it wasn’t easy getting it to this point. “‘Mystic River’ wasn’t your basic greenlight speed job. Everybody didn’t just queue up to produce this film. I took it to one studio, and they told me they don’t do dramas,” he says.

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