Fresh off the Oscar success of “Million Dollar Baby,” Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood went toe-to-toe with Chris Matthews on March 15, 2005. Below is a partial transcript of the interview:
On the controversy surrounding "Million Dollar Baby":
CLINT EASTWOOD, DIRECTOR: For some reason— it used to always be the knee-jerk liberal. Now it's the knee-jerk conservative. You get somebody who decided he's saying a message--
MATTHEWS: Is this high-paying piety that's going on here?
EASTWOOD: Yeah, I think so. I don't think anybody has the answer, everybody wants to politicize everything. I don't politicize things.. I wasn't making a statement in any picture that's the final end-all, it's just a way of going.
* * *
MATTHEWS: Is there a resentment in Hollywood against guys who move to the conservative side of things politically?
EASTWOOD: Well, let's face it, they are the minority, and if you like being part of a minority group then you should be a conservative in Hollywood. That works well.
MATTHEWS: People accept your sort of libertarianism, don't they?
EASTWOOD: I think so, I've just never been on the left side. Most self-made people aren't. But then sometimes people are— you get people who are idealistic, everybody's idealistic when you're a kid.
* * *
MATTHEWS: What do you think of Arnold?
EASTWOOD: I think he's doing good, I think he's doing very well. He has an advantage over most politicians, he doesn't need the job—
MATTHEWS: Because he's rich?
EASTWOOD: Yeah, and he's got a career, he can always go back to doing films. So he's trying different things, he's trying to shake it up, and god knows we needed it.
More about Clint:
In addition to his best picture win this year, Eastwood nabbed the trophy as best director for a second time and was also recognized with an acting nomination for his performance as gym owner Frankie Dunn.
“Million Dollar Baby” took home four Oscar statues, but alongside that success, the movie raised the ire of some conservative groups for its underlying and perhaps unintentional stance on assisted suicide. Unfazed, Eastwood says his latest film speaks for itself.
With a resume spanning westerns like “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” to perhaps his most famous role as the bad cop in 1971’s “Dirty Harry,” Eastwood’s career— which includes a brief political stint fighting bureaucracy as the mayor of historic Carmel, California in the '80s— is nothing if not diverse.
At 74 years old, Clint Eastwood became the oldest winner ever of the best directing Oscar and he shows no signs of slowing down. Now the iconic actor-director is about to make Chris Matthews' day.
Matthews and Eastwood will square off on Hollywood and the red states, the culture wars, and his experience in politics.