Judi Dench reveals the reason behind being shut down by Clint Eastwood on set

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Dame Judi Dench, a distinguished actress with a rich history of collaborations with esteemed actors and directors, encountered a unique experience when working alongside Clint Eastwood. Renowned for her work with the crème de la crème of the film industry, Dench shared her thoughts on the iconic Western star during an episode of Louis Theroux Interviews, describing him as “the most laidback man I have ever met.”

Their professional collaboration unfolded in the making of the 2011 film J Edgar, where Dench portrayed Annie Hoover, the mother of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, the controversial FBI boss. Surprisingly, working with Eastwood proved to be an unexpected revelation for Dench, despite her extensive career.

Recalling a distinctive moment during filming, Dench chuckled as she recounted Eastwood’s unique directing style. Instead of the traditional “cut” to signal the end of a scene, Eastwood calmly uttered “stop” without raising his voice, adding the phrase “in your own time.” This departure from the norm left Dench pleasantly surprised.

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An amusing anecdote emerged from Dench’s request for another take after a scene. Politely asking, “Mr. Eastwood, could we possibly do that again?” she received a succinct response, “Why?” When pressed for clarification, Eastwood maintained his succinct style, leaving Dench without the opportunity for an additional take.

Eastwood’s reputation for a swift and efficient directing approach, devoid of the meticulous and multiple takes associated with directors like Kubrick or Fincher, is well-known. While his method has contributed to the success of some of the greatest movies in history, Dench’s experience on J Edgar, coupled with the film’s lukewarm reviews, raises the question of whether a bit more time in production might have been beneficial on this particular occasion.