Clint Eastwood once passed up a chance to make a movie with Alfred Hitchcock. Before becoming a respected director in his own right, the Western superstar worked with some distinguished filmmakers, such as Sergio Leone, Don Siegel, and John Sturges. However, he never worked with Hitchcock.
Known as the Master of Suspense, Hitchcock has a legendary reputation and is still regarded today as one of the best directors of all time. Hitchcock made a name for himself in the 1940s with his black-and-white classics but managed to remain relevant even when cinema moved into a different era in the 1950s and early 1960s. During his long career in Hollywood, Hitchcock helmed several massive hits, including Psycho, North by Northwest, Rear Window, and more. In making these films, Hitchcock worked with dozens of A-list Hollywood stars. Among them were Cary Grant, James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, and Sean Connery.
Interviews with Eastwood have revealed that the actor had an opportunity to join the ranks of the iconic actors who have headlined Alfred Hitchcock films. In the 1970s, a meeting was arranged so that the two could discuss a potential collaboration. While having lunch in Hitchcock’s office, the director pitched an idea for a movie to Eastwood [via EW]. Eastwood, not thrilled with the idea, turned down the project because he “wasn’t nuts about the script”. He didn’t offer any specifics on what he didn’t like about the movie or the role, but it’s known that the film ultimately wasn’t made with Eastwood or any other actor for that matter.
Though Eastwood didn’t explain the pitch, it’s widely believed (but not confirmed) that the Hitchcock movie in question was The Short Night. During the late 1970s, Hitchcock was attached to direct the movie for Universal Pictures, which would have been shot in Finland. Reportedly, The Short Night was going to be an espionage romance centered on a government spy named Gavin Brand, who most likely would have been Eastwood’s character. The actor, as well as Walter Matthau, Sean Connery, and Steve McQueen were all considered candidates for the part. But for an unknown reason, Universal opted against moving forward with the movie and the starring role was never cast.
Though Hitchcock was still an esteemed director at this point in time, it’s worth noting that the 1970s represented a period of decline for Hitchcock, who made only two films during the decade, and neither were the hits that Notorious, Psycho, and the others were. And as for Clint Eastwood, he had already achieved great fame from his Man With No Name character and his many Hollywood roles. While an Eastwood-Hitchcock movie might have had some promise, it certainly wasn’t something that the actor needed.