Clint Eastwood Turned Down Superman & James Bond

Published 5 years ago by , Updated July 12th, 2013 at 10:27 am,

Clint Eastwood is a unique individual in that he successfully transitioned from being an A-list actor to a prolific filmmaker and winner of multiple Oscars.  He is exactly the sort of talent that attracts a lot of attention when he discusses roles he turned down or projects he selected to not become involved with in the past.

Eastwood spoke recently with Hero Complex and revealed that – in his heyday as a leading man – he had been offered the titular role in two tentpole franchises: Superman and James Bond.  Strange it may seem, Dirty Harry himself was at one time approached to play both the Man of Steel and 007.

Here is how Eastwood himself put it:

“I can remember – and this was many years ago – when [Warner Bros. President] Frank Wells came to me about doing Superman… I was like, ‘Superman?  Nah, nah, that’s not for me.  Not that there’s anything wrong with it.  It’s for somebody, but not me.”

“I was also offered pretty good money to do James Bond… This was after Sean Connery left… But to me, well, that was somebody else’s gig.  That’s Sean’s deal.  It didn’t feel right for me to be doing it.”

The idea of gruff-voiced tough guy Eastwood (instead of Christopher Reeeves) playing the Kryptonian Kal-El in Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman movie is strange enough – Eastwood in the role of silver-tongued Bond is even more difficult to comprehend.

Eastwood vs. Reeves Clint Eastwood Turned Down Superman & James Bond

Eastwood’s ‘Man With No Name’ vs. Reeves’ Superman

“What could have happened” scenarios – whether it’s Eastwood as Superman or Sylvester Stallone as Han Solo – are always interesting to consider.  Devout Screen Rant readers will recall that our 14 Actors Who Were Almost Superheroes feature from last May touched on that very subject.

Would Superman have been a grittier and less melodramatic film if Eastwood had taken up the offer?  What about Bond movies from the 1970s, like Moonraker and Octopussy – how would they have played out with Eastwood in the lead?  It may be trivial to speculate, but when has that stopped lovers of the cinema before? icon wink Clint Eastwood Turned Down Superman & James Bond

For more of the interview with Eastwood – which includes information about the actor’s favorite comic book hero – read the full interview with the L.A. Times Hero Complex.

Images of Eastwood as Superman and James Bond were done by Kevin Lingenfelser.

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  1. That would have been truly horrendous. I’d love to see Eastwood as an old batman in a film version of Dark Knight Returns though!

    • Thats a damn good idea!

  2. was he talking about the Film, or the TV Supes?

  3. i’d actually like to see him reprise Dirty Harry, fat chance though lol. as far as him Bond…he shoulda done at least one, then decided lol, hell he coulda done a better MUCH better job than Lazenby

    • Don’t diss Lazenby!

      • well sam, i cant help it lol sorry man, he just didnt fit it i guess Connery and the old films will always be better to me, and i liked Moore as well, and you gotta admit Eastwood as 007, he woulda took the license to kill thing to a whole new level

        • OHMSS is one of the best Bond films of all time, it’s top five, if not top three material.

          As much as I like Eastwood as an actor, an American playing the part would have been weird, and I don’t think audiences would have gone for it at the time, and I think it would have altered James Bond forever.

          Also, Moore, lovely guy, but he was the second worst Bond. Half of his Bond flicks were like watching spoofs of the genre. I tolerate them because I’m a huge Bond fan.

          • well, its just like a brit playing Spiderman lol. yeah it would have altered Bond, but it woulda been fun, for me anyways to see at least one time.

            • Yeah, I always say people shouldnt be bothered by the actors nationality, but I guess I would have a problem with a non brit playing Bond.

              That said, I remeber hearing Hugh Jackman was going to play Bond before they picked Craig (presumably because he was cheaper), and I might have been ok with that.

          • I second that motion (again)… see below.

            My saddest Bond moment was when Moore was dressed as a clown in Octopussy… I shed a single tear under my right eye and it stayed there for years.

            People would say, “What’s wrong?” and I would turn to them and say, “If you don’t know, then this tear is for you.”

      • I second that motion!

    • Lazenby was a much better Bond than Roger Moore.

      • umm yeah thats why he only did one film lol

        • I can’t remember where I read It, possibly ( wikipedia ) but apparently Broccoli offered Lazenby a seven picture deal, but his agent convinced Lazenby not to take it up because they felt spy films in the 70s would not be a successful venture.

          • There is also the story that he was fired or made to quit when they discovered they could get Connery back. And we all know how well that turned out.

  4. The Man With No Cape. He’d have been pushing fifty as Superman, and his reserved acting style wouldn’t have been right for Bond at all.

    It’s a peculiar cycle of What Ifs: Charles Bronson turned down Clint Eastwood’s role in the Dollars movies; Patrick McGoohan turned down Bond before Connery; Christopher Walken could have ended up as Han Solo. Never mind shooting first, he’d have killed Greedo just by looking at him.

      • Oh yeah! That’s an odd one if he didn’t come across as Indy – you’d think he’d have been a natural for the part.

        • from what i saw in the audition, he wasnt bad at all. but scheduling that and Magnum woulda been too hard on him at the time

          • I wonder if there is a parrallel world where people are discussing how weird it might have been if Harrison Ford (that guy from star wars) had gotten the part of Indiana Jones?

            • Has to be! Or what might have happened with Christian Bale as Batman instead of Cillian Murphy…

              • Imagine that horror!

                • And what if that Bateman guy from American Psycho was the Joker…

  5. Love the Photoshops in the header image. :)


    • did Sandy do that work himself Vic?

  6. I have to say, I respect Eastwood knowing he was not right for either part… and not even entitled to take Bond. Good on ya you old, but very talented, fart.

  7. Did you mean “devout” Screen Rant readers???

    • @ K-man

      Yes, I did. Thanks for catching that.

      @ Anthony

      The Photoshop images were done by Kevin Lingenfelser (I credited him at the end of the article).

      Vic is right though – they’re quite wonderful.

  8. The only character (comic book-wise) i can really see Eastwood playing is “Wolverine”… Even now he could still (to me) play a “Futuristic War-torn” version of him and still be a billion times better then Wolverine Origins. Just my opinion though…

  9. Both would of been bad choices.

    However, He would be perfect for Bruce Wayne in a Batman Beyond movie.

    The suggestion of him in The Dark Knight Returns isn’t a good one. Bruce was a beast in that film he worked his butt off to be bigger to counter the fact that he aged. Not to mention he is just to old for the part at this point.

    However Bruce in Beyond is very old in his 80′s and in very rough condition. Clint has the voice and look for that part.

  10. Anthony, the reason he only did one film was that the studio was never behind Lazenby, and when they realised they could coerce Connery into coming back, Lazenby quit, or more likely, was let go.

    This resulted in a horrendous re write for Diamonds, which in turn, made it one of the worst bond films.

    • well maybe the studios at the time felt he didnt have that Bond look they were looking for. he just didnt do it for me is all.

  11. “Do you feel lucky Lex?

    Do you think you can fire that kryptonite bullet before I rip your arm off? Or melt the gun in your hand?

    Well… do you?

    • Go ahead. Make my day…

  12. Oh my God can you imagine clint playing Superman.. here’s the scene Superclint to bad guy– Hey Go on punk make my day ,, what you got here is 1oo% steel, its the toughest steel around,, then the bad guy takes his shot and superclint takes him out and the bad guy says what are you! and super clint says half strangling him Im Superman,, Punk ! or Im Super , superman and im going your going to be shaking and stirred by the time im finished with you…
    or as bond the james bond theme would have some kind of the spagethi western whistle,, and then a little some mexican guitar playing,,