Clint Eastwood

Marcia Gay Harden’s Huge Crush On Clint Eastwood Led To The Worst Moment Of Her Career

Marcia Gay Harden was so nervous to meet her former crush, Clint Eastwood, that things went horribly awry.


  •  Clint Eastwood’s complicated relationship history includes multiple children.
  •  Marcia Gay Harden had a childhood crush on Clint Eastwood.
  •  During their first meeting on the set of Space Cowboys, Harden felt incredibly nervous and embarrassed herself.


A true Hollywood legend, Clint Eastwood has spent most of his life in the spotlight. Thanks to his superstar status and good looks, Eastwood has a complicated relationship history that includes so many kids that he won’t confirm how many children he has.

A widely respected actor in her own right, Marcia Gay Harden is an acclaimed performer who was married for many years. Despite her respected stature, Harden was incredibly nervous to meet Eastwood after having a crush on him. Those nerves resulted in Harden having the worst day of her career.

What Star Did Marcia Gay Harden Have A Crush On?

In 2022, the first Fletch movie since 1985’s Fletch and 1989’s Fletch Lives was released. Titled Confess, Fletch, the movie starred Jon Hamm, Kyle MacLachlan, John Slattery, Roy Wood Jr., and Marcia Gay Harden.

Marcia Gay Harden and Jon Hamm in an intimate scene
Via: Miramax

While most people don’t associate her with comedy, Harden made the typical circuit of interview appearances to promote the project. Arguably the most interesting part of that process was when Harden was interviewed for the podcast “20 Questions On Deadline”.

During the resulting conversation, Harden of course talked extensively about Confess, Fletch. That said, the most interesting part of the interview was when Harden was asked a series of revealing questions about her life.

Arguably the most captivating revelation came after Harden was asked about seeing movies when she was a child. As Harden explained, the stars of Western movies made a mark on her for carnal reasons.

“We fell in love with the cowboys and how sexy they were.” From there, the next question Harden was asked focused on which TV and film character she wanted to be. That question allowed Harden to explain just how big her childhood crush on Clint Eastwood was.

Clint Eastwood when he was young
Via: CBS

“I wanted to be Clint Eastwood. I wanted to be his character Rowdy Yates in Rawhide. The way he swaggered. The way he was so cool. The way he was so sexy. The way he gave nothing away.” Harden went on to explain one aspect she loved about Eastwood’s Rawhide character.

“I mean, I’m someone who wears my emotions on my sleeve, under my arm, down my butt. Like, you know what I’m thinking. There’s almost no mystery to me whatsoever. That makes me so sad. I really want to be a mysterious person, but I’m just not.”

Marcia Gay Harden's Huge Crush On Clint Eastwood Led To The Worst Moment Of Her Career
Via: TheThings

Harden continued, “He was so cool, calm, and collected. And, I was in love with him so much that I wanted to be him.” Harden then went on to explain she had that huge crush on Eastwood when she was between the ages of ten and twelve.

Marcia Gay Harden’s Embarrassing First Meeting With Clint Eastwood

In 2022, Marcia Gay Harden was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune. During that conversation, Harden revealed what the worst moment of her career has been. As Harden explained, she was very excited when there was a possibility she could be cast in Clint Eastwood’s movie Space Cowboys.

“I was shooting the film Pollock, and Clint Eastwood was casting for Space Cowboys and it was perfect timing because Ed (Harris) was taking a month off to gain weight for Pollack later in his life. So I had a month down when I could go and do the movie.”

Harden went on to explain that Harris had worked with Eastwood before so he was able to put a good word in for her. “Ed had worked with him before. So I said, ‘Oh my god, Ed, I really want to play this part,’ and he goes, ‘Yeah, I’ll give him a call.’”

Fortunately for Harden, Harris did a great job selling her to Eastwood. “So Ed calls Clint and I can hear the conversation. And Ed’s saying, ‘Yeah, she’s a good girl.’ And what he meant by that is, I’m not a diva. And that’s important to Clint as well.”

Clint Eastwood attends a premiere.
Via: Instar

By the time Harden showed up to film for Space Cowboys, she’d never actually met Eastwood before. Given her past crush on Eastwood, it is safe to say that Harden was very nervous to meet him. Those nerves unfortunately got to Harden and caused her a lot of embarrassment.

“So now on the first day of shooting, I’m sitting down and getting my hair done and Clint comes in at the opposite end of the trailer. And slowly but surely, he makes his way down, saying hello to people. And it’s like they’re all family, he’s known them for years.”

Harden continued, “I’m in the last chair. And I went into a silent panic — kind of interior frothing going on — that when he finally approached, I lurched out of my chair and threw myself at him and hugged him, which garnered all the looks from everybody in the trailer. And then in the highest pitch voice — and you know my voice is not high-pitched — I said, ‘Hi!’ And started laughing.”

Thinking Eastwood didn’t know who she was, Harden introduced herself to the actor. ‘I’m in your movie!’ I said that because he seemed so stunned. And he said, in his beautiful low voice: ‘Yeah, I know. I cast ya.’ And I continued to giggle and shriek.”

Marcia Gay Harden and Clint Eastwood side by side
Via: Instar

Evidently in pure desperation, Harden then decided to do the only thing she could think of. Unfortunately for Harden, things only got much worse for her at that moment.

“And then I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I lurched at him again and kissed him on the cheek. Which you don’t do. And again, all the heads are turning in the trailer. And I opened my mouth to say something and my limbic system came into full gear and I bit down hard on my tongue — and I bit a hole in my tongue. It was my brain telling me: Stop talking. And I sat back down. I’m telling you, I literally had a hole in my tongue.”

Marcia Gay Harden looking annoyed-1
Via: Instar

After trying to cope with her injury, Harden realized she had a major problem. “So I have a mouthful of blood. I put ice on my tongue and it stops bleeding, but it’s swollen and I couldn’t really talk normally.” Harden’s nightmare then got worse when Eastwood gave her a dialogue change.

“I go to set and everyone’s ready. And Clint goes, ‘Hey, Marcia. We got a call from the studio. They’ve changed your line from ‘We’ve gotta get back to Houston’ to ‘We have to get back to Space Shuttle Mission Control.’ So the camera is rolling. OK, go. And I say (jumbled version of the line). And he’s like: ‘Try it again.’ And the louder I tried to do it, the worse it got.”

Fortunately for Harden, it turned out Eastwood figured out what was going on and just played a joke on her. Harden eventually was able to perform and she clearly impressed Eastwood. After all, Eastwood later cast Harden in his later film, Mystic River.

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