Published June 06, 2008
Clint Eastwood says Spike Lee should "shut his face" about the lack of African-Americans in "Flags of Our Fathers."
"Has he ever studied the history?" Eastwood asked the U.K.'s Guardian in an interview published on Friday.
While promoting his own war movie, "Miracle at St. Anna," about the all-black 92nd Buffalo Division, which fought the Germans in Italy during World War II, Lee said Eastwood's Iwo Jima movie "Flags of Our Fathers" lacked a single African-American.
"There were many African-Americans who survived that war and who were upset at Clint for not having one [in 'Flags' or 'Letters From Iwo Jima']. That was his version: The negro soldier did not exist. I have a different version," Lee said recently at the Cannes film festival in France.
In response, Eastwood told the Guardian: "A guy like him should shut his face."
"He was complaining when I did 'Bird' [the 1988 biopic of Charlie Parker]. Why would a white guy be doing that? I was the only guy who made it, that's why. He could have gone ahead and made it. Instead he was making something else."
As for "Flags of Our Fathers," he says there was a small detachment of black troops on Iwo Jima as a part of a munitions company, "but they didn't raise the flag. The story is 'Flags of Our Fathers,' the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn't do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people'd go, 'This guy's lost his mind.' I mean, it's not accurate."