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Sergio Leone considered dropping Clint Eastwood from this Western

Between them, director Sergio Leone and actor Clint Eastwood were both western movie royalty — but one classic Western could've look a lot different

Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is unquestionably one of the best Westerns of all time. It centres around three gunslingers in the thick of the US Civil War — Blondie, Tuco, and Angel Eyes — as they all compete and form uneasy alliances in their pursuit to find some hidden Confederate gold.

The 1966 film was designed as the final chapter in the Dollars Trilogy, wherein Eastwood starred as the ‘Man with No Name,’ but in an interview, screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni, who was a longtime collaborator of Sergio Leone, revealed that Eastwood’s breakout role nearly never came to fruition.

“It was a little problem with Clint Eastwood,” Vincenzoni explained. “Sergio Leone offered the role first to Clint Eastwood, but Eastwood didn’t like the screenplay. When he read the screenplay, his first reaction was negative.” He continued, “When Sergio Leone told me this, I was very upset and said, ‘How come Clint didn’t accept the role?’ He said, ‘Don’t worry, I have Charles Bronson in my mind, and I don’t want to have Clint Eastwood again.'”

But then, they were left in a sticky situation with the adventure movie. “After two days, Clint Eastwood called and accepted the role. That I remember clearly, Sergio had his mind an actor like Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen.”

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However, Vincenzoni said that Leone ultimately settled for Eastwood “because he had a little money, and Clint at that time was a little TV actor and didn’t cost so much. And, after that, he kept going.”

As we know, Clint Eastwood is far from a “little TV actor” these days. Check out our guide to the best Clint Eastwood movies here.