When you’ve been around in Hollywood for as long as Clint Eastwood has, you’re bound to make your fair share of enemies in the industry. Spike Lee is not one to mince his words either, so it makes sense that the two legendary filmmakers would have become embroiled in a bitter feud at some point in their illustrious careers. What’s special about this disagreement, though, is that Lee randomly decided to declare the feud was over during a basketball game — and Clint Eastwood wasn’t even there.
Apparently, the feud began when Lee took offence to two of Eastwood’s war movies – Letters From Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers – for their lack of representation for Black soldiers. At a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, Lee publicly condemned Eastwood for not including a single Black actor in either movie.
Eastwood had a simple explanation though, explaining that factually speaking, no Black soldiers actually raised the flag (despite hundreds being involved in the events upon which the movies are based) and he wanted to avoid historical inaccuracies.
According to reports, Eastwood proceeded to suggest that Lee should “shut his face,” to which Lee’s response was to call Eastwood “an angry old man,” and reminded the actor-turned-director that he is “not my father and we’re not on a plantation either.”
The feud simmered for a while, before Lee ended it all in true soap opera fashion. While in attendance of an LA Lakers basketball game, Lee spotted Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, and Eddie Murphy sitting together. He approached Spielberg and declared the animosity between himself and Eastwood was done.
“I said ‘Steven, it’s over with Clint Eastwood.’ Steven laughed and said, ‘I’ll call Clint and tell him in the morning.’ I said, ‘It’s over.’ He said, ‘Good,'” Lee recounted to The New Yorker. We can only assume that Spielberg did indeed pass on the message to Clint, and that the rest, is history, it seems.
Despite their disagreements, one thing is for certain; Spike Lee movies and Clint Eastwood movies are generally very, very good, and we are glad their feuding doesn’t get in the way of their filmmaking.