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Clint Eastwood rejected this big role in the greatest war movie ever

There's no competing with the list of the best Clint Eastwood movies, but the man behind the best Westerns almost starred in this undisputed war movie classic.

Clint Eastwood turned down a role in Apocalypse Now

Even the most impressive acting careers come with regrets, but Clint Eastwood probably has fewer than most. After all, Clint Eastwood has starred in so many of the best movies ever made that he’ll have forgotten making more classics than most people will ever have a chance to appear in. But he could have added yet another to that list.

Eastwood might be known for starring in loads of the best Westerns of all time, but he could also have joined one of the best war movies ever committed to celluloid. He turned down the lead role ultimately played by Martin Sheen in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.

“Coppola called me up and asked me if I wanted to do the young guy I think later played by Martin Sheen,” Eastwood told The Hollywood Reporter.

“He asked me if I wanted to play that and I said: ‘Gee, I don’t know. I don’t understand this show too much’. I did read Heart of Darkness when I was young and so I kind of knew where it was going but then I said: ‘No, I don’t think I can go off for that long a time’. He was going to go 16 weeks in the Philippines.”

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Eastwood revealed he discussed the project with Steve McQueen, who was in the frame to play Kurtz. It would have only involved two weeks’ work. Ultimately, of course, it would be Marlon Brando who took on the quasi-mythical character of Kurtz.

Although Apocalypse Now has a formidable reputation these days, its troubled and gargantuan production ultimately ran for 238 days. Given Eastwood’s love for efficiency and getting the job done, it doesn’t seem like his kind of set at all.

For more on the biggest productions in history, find out how Nicole Kidman took part in the longest film shoot ever. It sounds exhausting to be honest. As for Eastwood, find out our picks for the best Clint Eastwood movies and learn about why Clint Eastwood’s best movie got slated by a war expert..