Clint Eastwood has led some of the most legendary legacies throughout his tenure in Hollywood as an actor and director, and especially as an actor. Regarded as one of the best in both the acting as well as the directing fields, he has gifted cinema some of the most remarkable works of all time.
In fact, even after stepping into his old years, “Clinton Eastwood Jr.” didn’t hesitate to give some of the most brilliant performances as an actor. But his phenomenal acting tenure would have stopped long ago when he moved into directing from acting in 2000, only to be saved by Hilary Swank.
Or, to be more precise, it was Swank’s 2004 blockbuster, which not only became one of Eastwood’s biggest critically acclaimed films but also added yet another Oscar to his already star-studded collection: Million Dollar Baby.
Million Dollar Baby Made Clint Eastwood Go Back On His Decision To Stop Acting
Clint Eastwood may have made sure to give terrific performances even in his old age, but that was hardly his intention when he was in his early 70s. If anything, he was trying to jump more into the directing profession than the acting one.
But then he came across Million Dollar Baby, one of the six short stories from F.X. Toole’s series of short stories book called Rope Burns, which Eastwood considered “was the best one, at least the best one for a film,” as per his interview with Today.
This made him go back on his decision to stop acting, considering how he eventually ended up not only directing and co-producing but even starring in the same. Four years later, in an interview with Reuters, the legendary celeb echoed similar thoughts as he said:
“I think I started saying that back a few years ago, I said ‘I don’t think I’ll act anymore, I’ll stay behind the camera’ and then Million Dollar Baby came along and I liked that role.”Advertisement
Thus, just because he liked the story and felt that it deserved to be transformed into a cinematic experience, not only did Eastwood decide to make and star in the movie, but even went to extremes to get it made when studios rejected the movie.
Million Dollar Baby shared the story of Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), a waitress from the Ozarks who seeks training in boxing from Frankie Dunn (Eastwood’s character), a Los Angeles veteran boxing trainer who keeps everyone no closer than an arm’s length.
While Clint Eastwood only took on the project because he “liked” it, little did he know how greatly it would end up affecting him in the long run; especially generous with all the accolades, or to be more precise, Oscars.
Million Dollar Baby Granted Clint Eastwood More Than Just Critical Acclamation
After an initial limited release, when Million Dollar Baby finally hit the theatres in a wide-release opening, it was faced with massive acclamation and an even more magnificent box office performance.
Raging in theatres for six and a half months, the Clint Eastwood-starrer garnered a whopping $285.4 million on its budget of $30 million (via Box Office Mojo). Adding to this was the immense critical commendation it received, including a 90% approval rating on the Tomatometer.
This was further made all the better as the film got nominated for seven Academy Awards, out of which it won four for Best: Picture, Director, Actress, and Supporting Actor; two of the former of which were bagged by Eastwood, and the remaining two by Swank and Morgan Freeman.
And, well, another success through Million Dollar Baby was the fact that Clint Eastwood actually started acting once again after the 2004 blockbuster, continuing to gift viewers with even more of his spectacular acting performances speckled across multiple films.