In an interview with the UK Independent for his role in Nicholas Sparks’ new film, “The Longest Ride,” Scott Eastwood said he is thankful his father turned him down for a role in the hit film “American Sniper.”
“I would have loved to have been part of ‘American Sniper’ but then I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do this film,” he told the Independent.
Eastwood said that growing up with a Hollywood legend as a father wasn’t easy, and he learned about hard work and self-reliance through his father’s insistence that he earn his own way in life.
“The truth is, he’s very old school, there are no hand-outs,” he said. “It’s the opposite.”
“American Sniper” wasn’t the first time his father turned him down for a role. Eastwood said he landed a small part – with just a few lines – in the 2006 release “Flags of our Fathers” after being rejected for one of the major roles.
“I was a young actor trying to make something of myself, working two jobs and hustling and he said: ‘Well, we’ll see. I’ll give you a shot to audition,’” he recalled. “I’ve auditioned for a lot of the bigger roles in his films and never got them.”
Until landing the leading role in the Sparks movie, the younger Eastwood hadn’t seen much success with his acting career. He told the Independent that his father went to great lengths to prepare him for years of hard work.
“It’s so funny because my dad was like: ‘Go get a job. Go figure it out. You want to be an actor, go for it, but you better get a day job because [acting] doesn’t pay the bills,” he said.
Eastwood was forced to rely heavily on his day jobs – bartending, construction, valet parking – to pay the bills while he looked for more lucrative acting work in Hollywood.
“Up ’til a few years ago, acting didn’t pay well for me,” he said, adding that he even considered abandoning his dreams of becoming an actor for more steady work outside of the industry.
But he took his father’s advice, and toughed it out.
“My dad always says, ‘Just stick around.’ Everybody thinks it’s an overnight success,” he said. “But the reality is, it takes years of hard work.”
Clint Eastwood’s tough love is impressive in an industry known for its cronyism. The message it sent, however, is even more universal.