Tim Robbins Reveals Why Actors Need to Be Disciplined To Work With Clint Eastwood

Tim Robbins loved working on Mystic River under the direction of Clint Eastwood, but you have to be prepared for one thing in particular.

Tim Robbins chatting with Clint Eastwood on Mystic River set

Tim Robbins has had some incredible experiences in his movie career, and working with Clint Eastwood on the 2003 movie Mystic River is one of them. Winning an Oscar for his performance as haunted blue-collar worker Dave Boyle, Robbins continued to prove why he is one of Hollywood’s greats, even if, for him, it was working with one of the industry’s most iconic individuals that really made the creation of the crime drama a special one.

Speaking during an episode of Deadline’s The Actor’s Side, Robbins reflected on several aspects of his career, including his work on Mystic River. During the interview, he was asked what it was like working with Eastwood, and Robbins was quick to point out that it was a great experience, but one that required being disciplined and being prepared – as Clint was “not going to do two second takes.” Robbins said:

“[He was] amazing. Amazing. I think what you see in Mystic River, most of what you see in Mystic River is the first take…because he only would do one take. So you come prepared, disciplined, ready to work, know all your lines because you know you only have one shot at it. So, you get three shots, there are three set-ups – you get a wide, a mid, and a close. But he’s not going to do two second takes.”

Eastwood’s love of capturing the footage he needed on the first take is probably why Robbins also marveled at the short working time he had on the movie. Asked how long he would spend on set each day, Robbins replied:

We didn’t work any day…at least I didn’t work any more than 7 hours.

Tim Robbins Did Not Expect Mystic River to Win Him an Oscar

Tim Robbins with cap in Mystic River
Warner Bros.

Having seen the way the movie industry can be hard to predict thanks to his involvement in The Shawshank Redemption, Tim Robbins had learned not to anticipate how a movie would be received by the time Mystic River came out almost 10 years later. However, the actor believes that there is one thing that can always help a movie, and that is the belief of the people willing to market a film. He noted:

“You never know, because there’s so many factors in a film’s life. Having lived through it with Shawshank I knew this as well, that you never know how well it’s going to be received. One thing that is essential for a film to be a success is not the film itself but the belief in the film by a few very key people that are going to be able to say we are going to put money into marketing this. It’s super important. If it doesn’t catch that person’s imagination or heart it can be a great film and not be seen. So we got very lucky with that. And I was super fortunate to catch the tail end of the idea that a film can be art and a film can be made for adults that are interested in watching something that might they might not have seen before.”

Diego Mateo on X: "9. Mystic River No es sino otra prueba más de lo buen  director que es Clint Eastwood. Este es uno de los mejores thrillers de lo  que va

Unlike Shawshank, which had to wait many years for its own redemption, Mystic River turned a healthy profit at the box office, grossing over $156 million from its $25 million budget. This, along with a slew of awards, ensured that the film would find a place among Robbins, and Eastwood’s, greatest movies.


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