Go ahead and make his 81-year-old day. Clint Eastwood won't sweat it.
Ask him about aging and the screen legend says, "I like that as an older person you have less worry than a younger person. You put in the time. You think, 'What the hell?'" he says.
That attitude is how you find him on an early morning in Beverly Hills. Clint's style is California casual. Many actors wear Armani suits to do an interview at the historic Beverly Wilshire Hotel near Rodeo Drive. Clint arrives in khaki's, a black zip-up sweater and with his trademark grin.
His hands are in his pockets when he walks into a room.
His black pick up truck is parked outside. "It's the cleanest interior you've ever seen in a pick up truck," says one of the doormen who parks it amongst the expensive foreign sports cars and a Bentley.
Eastwood is upfront about his life which includes directing movies like the new "J. Edgar" plus raising a young family with his wife Dina.
"I think aging so far has been okay. I think it's good," he says. "A lot of people regret getting older because we live in a society that reveres the beginning. We celebrate the prime of our lives.
"I believe that we have certain primes at different times in life," he says.
As for aging, he says, "I don't think older people think about it on a daily basis. We just get on with it."
CLINT ON J. EDGAR
His new movie "J. Edgar" revolves around the founder of the FBI. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the the face of law enforcement for almost 50 years. Armie Hammer ("The Social Network") is as his loyal assistant and love interest Clyde Tolson. Naomi Watts plays his life-long secretary who keeps the secret files.
Judi Dench is his tough-as-nails mother who tells her son Edgar that he must succeed and make the Hoover name great. She also pushes the idea that he date, dance and marry – when it's obvious that Hoover truly loves Tolson. The film starts in 1919 and follows Hoover's life until his death when Nixon was president.
Eastwood says one thing was lacking in his research.
"I never met Hoover," he says. "But I did live through the Hoover years, which is partly why I was interested in this story. I had my own impressions of growing up with Hoover as this heroic figure during the '30s, '40s and '50s.
"This was all prior to the information age," Eastwood says. "We really didn't know much about Hoover except what was in the papers."
"It was fun to delve into a character you heard about your entire life, but didn't really know," Eastwood says.
In the film, Hoover keeps his secret files on the famous and the infamous along with presidents and peons.
"No one could remove Hoover from power," Eastwood says. "There are so many parallels in society today that you can use whether it's the head of a studio or the head of an organization or major newspaper.
"There are people who just stay too long," he says. "They over-stay their usefulness."
Eastwood is not one of them. He proved that he could get just as physical as the younger men on the set. He even demonstrated a scene where DiCaprio and Hammer have a fistfight.
"There was a moment on set when Leo and I were fighting and Clint decided to show us what he wanted," Hammer recalls. "He grabbed a buddy of his who has been with him since the 'Rawhide' days."
"Actually, I've known my friend since we were contract players in 1953," Eastwood says in that trademark calm, raspy voice. I had to show the guys what I wanted, so my friend and I had a fight. We just started punching each other and ended up rolling on the ground."
At age 81, he is no wimp.
"After having all that fun, I stood up, dusted myself off and said, 'Boys, just do something …like that,'" Eastwood says.
EASTWOOD THE MAN
Eastwood was born in San Francisco and worked as a lifeguard and swim teacher for the military. In 1953, he moved back to California and a few years later began acting in B-movies.
He was ready to quit this idea of acting when he was cast on the TV series "Rawhide" in 1959.
After six years on the series, he was cast as The Man With No Name in "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964), which he followed with "For a Few Dollars More" (1965) and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966).
His other early roles include "Hang 'Em High" (1968), "Paint Your Wagon" (1969), "Kelly's Heroes" (1970) and "Two Mules for Sister Sara" (1970).
He made his directorial debut with the thriller "Play Misty for Me" (1971).
He originated one of his classic roles in "Dirty Harry" (1971) and did sequels including "Magnum Force" (1973), "The Enforcer" (1976), "Sudden Impact" (1983) and "The Dead Pool" (1988).
His other classic films include "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976), "The Gauntlet" (1977), "Every Which Way But Loose" (1978) and "In the Line of Fire" (1993).
Eastwood's "Unforgiven" (1992) earned him his first Oscar nomination as Best Actor and a win for Best Director and Best Picture.
He has also directed and starred in "The Bridges of Madison County" (1995) and "Million Dollar Baby" (2004), which also won an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director.
Eastwood's personal life has also made headlines. He's divorced from his first wife Maggie Johnson, the mother of two of his 7 children and had a long relationship and nasty split with actress Sondra Locke.
These days, he lives a quiet life as the husband of former newscaster Dina Eastwood, mother of his youngest child.
He's mulling over a return to acting, which he knows will please fans.
Why get out there again in front of the camera?
"I could say boredom," he jokes with a twinkle in his eyes. "The truth is that people offer me roles – and sometimes they're great roles.
"Honestly, I've been trying to retire to the back of the camera for quite a few years," he explains. "I just can't seem to stay back there."
"Someone will say, 'Let's get Eastwood,'" he says. "Sometimes you might even get him if I'm in the mood."
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