To the untrained eye, they may look like mistakes — an actor stumbles over a line or disrupts a prop by mistake — and any other director would probably relegate such moments to the bloopers reel. Not Clint Eastwood.
According to his longtime editor Cox, the helmer embraces happy accidents. His philosophy: “Is it perfect? Maybe not, but is life perfect?”
Eastwood demands famously few takes from his cast, sometimes even recording run-throughs, “because you might shoot something in that rehearsal that 100 takes later you couldn’t capture again,” explains Cox, who is used to such unorthodox filmmaking.
“Since 1984, I’ve worked basically every day for Clint,” he says. They first collaborated on “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” and both took home Oscars for “Unforgiven.”
Their latest undertaking, twin projects “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters From Iwo Jima,” has been especially challenging. While “Flags” gives the American perspective, the second film is in Japanese, “and I don’t speak a word of it,” he says. But Eastwood wanted Cox to start editing without an interpreter. “He just told me, ‘You’ll sense what they’re saying.’ And he was right. I’d get emotion on the screen, and editing is molding around that and putting texture to the film.”