He may have inherited a heavy-hitting last name (not to mention that chiseled jawline and gunslinger squint), but Scott Eastwood isn't interested in shortcuts. In this season's war drama Fury, the young actor holds his own against Brad Pitt. And in real life, the new-wave macho man still makes it hard to look away
Scott Eastwood, the next great American heartthrob, slept through the breakfast buffet at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Elkin, N.C., but he's not complaining. Eastwood, the 28-year-old son of actor-director Clint, doesn't believe in complaining. "In this business you're lucky to be doing what you're doing," he says from behind a pair of aviators, still managing to turn heads even in gray track pants and a white T-shirt. "To take that for granted pisses me off." His most recent stroke of luck? Riding a bull into the wee hours of the morning for the upcoming film The Longest Ride, based on the best- selling novel by Nicholas Sparks (of The Notebook fame).
Eastwood gives the impression of someone who is young and hungry—and that's not just because he slept through the pancakes. In the past decade the California native has graduated from appearing in cameos in his father's films to carrying more substantial roles on his own well- defined shoulders. In addition to his part as a smoldering rodeo rider, Eastwood plays a hardworking sergeant in Fury, this fall's highly anticipated World War II action drama starring Brad Pitt. And along with helming his own film projects, including a Western called Diablo, he's the face (and body) of Boss men's fall 2014 campaign. "I never understood actors who could just wait around," he says, cadging a drag of a cigarette from his girlfriend, model Brittany Brousseau. "I'm going to succeed—and I'm going to make it happen on my own," he says, exhaling an Eastwoodian plume of smoke. In other words, he'll go ahead and make his own day.
I understand you had a bumpy night.
Yes, tomorrow is the last day of filming, so we were shooting a big scene. I play a professional bull rider. George Tillman Jr. is directing it, and he's trying to get away from the Nicholas Sparks formula by making the film more gritty.
So it's not all misty shots of attractive people gazing into each other's eyes?
Well, there is some of that.
That must have been quite a different experience from the battle scenes in Fury, which sounds like the antithesis of a Sparks adaptation.
That was a tough shoot. It was cold and wet, day in, day out, and 15-hour days—but it was rewarding. David Ayer is one of the best directors I've ever worked with. He's a true man's man.
You've used that term before in previous interviews. What does it mean to you?
Someone who doesn't complain, who is there to do the work. Ayer didn't treat anyone, including Pitt, any differently. He doesn't have time for whiners or prima donnas.
Is that a bugbear for you?
Yes. There are so many people who don't have the opportunity to make movies and get paid to do it—you're a diva if you don't realize what you have. You could be digging ditches—or swimming pools, like my dad did in the 1950s, before he made it.
How long have you been acting?
Since I was 16. I grew up on movie sets, getting to see storytelling happen up close. I fell in love with the magic of movies—whether it was Star Wars or Hook or one of my dad's films, like Unforgiven.
Your father is one of America's most iconic and prolific leading men. What was the most important thing you learned from him about the business?
My dad never took himself too seriously. He always treated everyone with respect, and he made sure I was like that too. I show up, I hit my mark, and I say my lines. I always tell people, "I might not be the greatest actor, but I want to be the hardest-working one."
You started your career with a different name, Scott Reeves. Why was that?
I just took the last name of my mother, Jacelyn Reeves. I wanted to see if I could do it on my own without a bunch of hype. I had something to prove to myself.
Do you feel like you proved it?
I'm still working, aren't I?
Growing up, did you feel any pressure to become an actor—or, perhaps, to pursue an alternate path?
Not at all. I was a product of my environment. My dad didn't care what I did as long as I did it well.
What would you be doing if you weren't in films?
Firefighter. Navy SEAL.
Yeah. In high school a couple of my buddies went off to be Navy SEALs. I was considering it for a while, but then I began working as an actor.
Now you can just play one in a movie. How do you keep busy when you're not on set?
I've got a lot of other stuff going on. I have a whiskey that hasn't come to market yet, called Eastwood Whiskey, which is made using water from my dad's land in Carmel, Calif. It's in barrels now. I'm also a part owner of a bar in the San Diego area called Saddle Bar. It's a nice local place, very un-Hollywood.
You seem like you're a little anti-Hollywood.
It's not that there are bad people in Los Angeles. It can just be kind of pretentious. I love San Diego. I'm a very active guy: I fish, I play golf, I do jujitsu, I surf. For Invictus I learned how to play rugby. For Pride I trained with an Olympic swimming coach. That's the fun part of being an actor—you get to lead all these different lives. I have no idea when I'll ever be able to use these skills, but they're good to have.
And they obviously keep you in good shape. Remember when Buzzfeed wrote a post called "Holy Crap, Clint Eastwood's Son Is Super Hot" and it pretty much crashed the Internet?
[Laughs] I'm flattered, but I come from a place in California where there's a ton of good-looking dudes, far better looking than I am.
But they can't ride bulls.
No, probably not.