Clint Eastwood

“More than a man, I need a mask”: Clint Eastwood’s Lack of Expression Got Him His Breakout Role With a Meagre $15000 Salary That Later Made History

Sergio Leone wanted a man with no name and no fame and Clint Eastwood was the perfect choice!


  • Clint Eastwood found fame by starring in the role of Man with No Name in Sergio Leone’s ‘Dollars’ Trilogy.
  • The director wanted a man with no name and no fame and he joked that Eastwood was the only actor who had only two expressions!
  • A series of events led to the creation of the iconic look that Eastwood had throughout the franchise!

Clint Eastwood, the man, the myth, the legend, who stood with a cigar in his mouth and a revolver in his hand has been the star of many iconic movies. Getting his fame from starring in Italian director Sergio Leone’s The Dollars Trilogy, there was a very specific set of events that landed Eastwood with a cigar in his hand.

Being famous for his squinting eyes and a serape around his neck, the tale of how The Man with No Name came to be is quite an iconic one. With the director wanting a faceless man for the role, Eastwood was the perfect choice, and who would’ve known the fame that the actor would go on to receive?

Clint Eastwood in a still from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Clint Eastwood in a still from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Clint Eastwood Had Only Two Expressions!

Before starring in A Fistful of Dollars, Italian director Sergio Leone wanted to create a genre in Hollywood. With the director known for making Spaghetti Westerns after coming to Hollywood, Leone wanted a man with no name and no fame.

Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood
Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood

Fortunately, Leone found Clint Eastwood for the role of Man with No Name. A post on X narrated how Sergio Leone only wanted to work with Eastwood because the actor had only two expressions. The post further talked about how the perfect chain of events created the iconic character of Man with No Name and how Eastwood’s character became immortal!

“[Sergio Leone] wanted a man with ‘no name or fame in Hollywood.’ Eastwood only had two facial expressions at times, as Leone liked to joke: ‘With hat, and without a hat,’ More than a man, I needed a mask…”

The tweet further talked about how Clint Eastwood was an affordable actor at that time because Sergio Leone had to only pay Eastwood a meager $15000 for his part. Although Eastwood was cast in the part, the journey from donning the seraph to actually creating that iconic image was mostly luck!

Clint Eastwood’s Cigars and Squinting Eyes Were Not Intended!

Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood

Eastwood’s role of Man with No Name will always be recalled as a man smoking a cigar in the desert with squinting eyes and a revolver by his waist. As per the tweet, Eastwood hated smoking cigars. For the role, however, the actor had to forcefully smoke and keep them in his mouth.

On top of the already hot cigars, the Italian summer sun was unbearable which caused Eastwood to squint his eyes whenever shooting. The culmination of the heat and the cigars gave the signature look of the veteran actor in the Dollars’ Trilogy. Well, who would’ve thought that cigars, revolvers, and squinting eyes were enough to make an actor famous?

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