Page last updated at 09:26 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 10:26 UK

Eastwood hits back at Lee claims

Clint Eastwood
Eastwood says historical accuracy in his films is paramount

Clint Eastwood has responded to fellow director Spike Lee's claims that there are too few black actors in his films, saying he should "shut his face".

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Eastwood said his 2006 film Flags of Our Fathers was historically accurate.

The Oscar winner insisted that black troops were not involved in raising the flag at Iwo Jima.

"If I go ahead and put an African American actor in there, they'd say 'this guy's lost his mind,'" he said.

White Nelson Mandela

At this year's Cannes Film Festival, film-maker Lee challenged reporters to ask Eastwood why there were no black actors in either of his films about the Battle of Iwo Jima. "That was his version. The Negro version did not exist," said Lee.

Eastwood said that there was a small detachment of black troops in the World War II battle, but they were part of a munitions company.

"The story is Flags of Our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn't do that," he told the Guardian. "It's not accurate."

Eastwood added that he would not compromise the facts with future projects.

Spike Lee
Spike Lee's latest film follows black soldiers in World War II

"I'm not in that game. I'm playing it the way I read it historically, and that's the way it is," he said.

"When I do a picture and it's 90% black, like Bird, I use 90% black people," said Eastwood, referring to his 1998 film about jazz musician Charlie "Bird" Parker.

His next project, The Human Factor, will look at post-apartheid South Africa: "I'm not going to make Nelson Mandela a white guy," he joked.

Lee's forthcoming film, The Miracle at St Anna, shows the contribution made by African-American troops in Italy during World War II.

Eastwood film tops Cannes line-up
23 Apr 08 |  Entertainment
Reporter's log: Cannes 2008
22 May 08 |  Entertainment
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07 Jun 07 |  Entertainment

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