John Wayne Held Nothing Back In A Ruthless Rejection Of Clint Eastwood

As much as you'd like to believe otherwise, the two quickest guns in the West weren't exactly what you would call best friends back in the day. Apparently, John Wayne had something of a distinct dislike for actor Clint Eastwood once upon a time. Whereas you'd think the famous Hollywood duo would come together in a sort of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" fashion, personal attitudes sadly got in the way of that prospect. Therefore, instead of teaming up on the big screen against all the pilgrims and punks out there dead set on besmirching the noble name of justice, Wayne and Eastwood opted to keep their distance from one another (via Express U.K.).

However, the decision to do so wasn't exactly mutual. According to Express U.K., John Wayne pulled no punches in sharing how he really felt about the "Fistful of Dollars" star when the matter presented itself in 1973. It all started when Eastwood reached out to him with an opportunity to work together on a film he was cooking up.

John Wayne called Clint Eastwood's script what...?

Apparently, John Wayne harbored a latent dislike for Clint Eastwood, postulating that the ending of "High Noon" was "the most un-American thing I've ever seen in my whole life." So naturally, when he received the script for a project that Eastwood was spearheading called "The Hostiles," the decision to send it back was already locked and loaded at his side like a fully charged six-shooter. Despite continued efforts from Eastwood to get The Duke on board for the film, no gesture of persistence or good will could overshadow how the latter really felt about him, as Express U.K. reports.

According to Wide Open Country, John Wayne flat out despised Clint Eastwood as an actor long before "The Hostiles" appeared in his towering pile of scripts, deeming his portrayal of the American West as something of a travesty. "John Wayne once wrote me a letter saying he didn't like 'High Plains Drifter'," Eastwood said. "He said it wasn't really about the people who pioneered the West. I realized that there's two different generations, and he wouldn't understand what I was doing." 

Even so, ol' Clint wasn't done trying to corral the iconic "El Dorado" star into his region of the cinematic West, so he sent a revised script for "The Hostiles" to Wayne one last time. Upon receiving it, Wayne reportedly hardly gave it the time of day, not even deigning to read it. He allegedly scoffed and remarked to his son, "Not this piece of s*** again," before tossing it over the side of his boat (per Verve Times).

Wayne and Eastwood reconciled over common politics

After enough time, plans to make "The Hostiles" were ultimately scrapped, and John Wayne and Clint Eastwood never ended up working together on anything else. The convergence of the two legends of American Western cinema likely would have been something remarkable to behold, though the world will sadly never know. However, that wasn't the end of their story. According to IMDb, Eastwood paid a visit to Wayne on the set of his final film "The Shootist" in 1975.

The one thing that can always be counted on to divide people, however, can also sometimes bring them together: politics. Though he sported a supreme distaste for Eastwood until that point, John Wayne's bitterness subsided upon learning that the "Unforgiven" star was a fellow political conservative. Wayne was famously right leaning, and upon learning that Eastwood was as well, much of his pre-existing animosity dissipated within a matter of minutes. The two managed to find common ground by conversing over mutual political views, as Express U.K. reports.