CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20:  Clint Eastwood speaks on stage during the 'Unforgiven' restored copy presentation during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Salle Debussy on May 20, 2017 in Cannes, France.  (Photo by Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
A Small Favor From Paul Newman Landed Clint Eastwood His Dirty Harry Role
When “Dirty Harry” was in development at Warner Bros., the studio courted Steve McQueen, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra to star in the film. However, Clint Eastwood wound up with one of his signature roles in “Dirty Harry” because the script got into the hands of actor Paul Newman, who ultimately recommended Eastwood for the part.
Speaking with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, Eastwood recalled, “Paul Newman had led me onto it. He told Jennings Lang, who is an executive at Universal at that time, that 'there is a script that I read, this exciting detective story, might be great for Clint,' [...] [Lang told me], '[Paul] had some questions about the political ramifications [...] but he thinks [...] you might want to do it.'"
Not only did Eastwood take on the role of Harry Callahan, but the Malpaso Company, Eastwood's production company, came aboard to produce the film. While playing a cop who answered to no one was a turn-off for the liberal Paul Newman, that wasn't much of an issue for the future Republican mayor of Carmel, California: Clint Eastwood.