Clint Eastwood jokes 'it isn't a bad idea' to kill Michael Moore after gun criticism as he collects prize... but denies making 2005 death threat.
Clint Eastwood denied Michael Moore's claim that he threatened to kill him in 2005 as he was honoured at an event as part of CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
'Everyone is saying I threatened to kill Michael Moore – that's not true. But it isn't a bad idea,' he joked as the crowd burst out laughing, according to Deadline.
On a more serious note, the legendary director explained his version of the story behind the incident a decade ago, which Moore recently wrote about while criticising Eastwood's movie American Sniper.
'Once years ago somebody asked me what I would do if a guy like [Moore] came to my house and started filming like they did with Charlton Heston,' he said of Moore's movie Bowling For Columbine, adding that he has never met Moore.
'Unfortunately, Charlton Heston was ill at the time with Alzheimer's. But I thought if somebody was on your property, you could shoot him.'
Eastwood also brushed off Moore's criticism of his latest movie, after his fellow filmmaker called snipers 'cowards', adding that American Sniper is a 'mess of a film that rewrites history' and perpetrates a 'racist sentiment to Arabs'.
'I'm all for [anyone expressing] what their attitudes are. That’s what is great about this country. You can say whatever you want and nobody has to agree with you,' the 84-year-old said.
Moore wrote a long Facebook post in January in which he stated Eastwood threatened to kill him a decade earlier.
'Ten years ago this past week, Clint Eastwood stood in front of the National Board of Review awards dinner and announced to me and to the crowd that he would "kill" me if I ever came to his house with my camera for an interview.
'"I'll kill you," he declared. The crowd laughed nervously.'
Moore went on: 'As for me, having just experienced a half-dozen assaults in the previous year from crazies upset at 'Fahrenheit 9/11' and my anti-war Oscar speech, plus the attempt by a right wing extremist to blow up my house (he was caught in time and went to prison), I was a bit stunned to hear Eastwood, out of the blue, make such a violent statement.
'But I instantly decided he was just trying to be funny, so I laughed the same nervous laugh everyone else did. Clint, though, didn't seem to like all that laughter. "I mean it," he barked, and the audience grew more quiet. "I'll shoot you."'
Moore added that the audience turned to see his reaction and there was 'a smattering of approving applause'.
He recalled: 'tried to keep that fake smile on my face so as to appear as if he hadn't "gotten" to me. But he had. I then mumbled to those sitting at my table. "I think Dirty Harry just said, 'Make my day, punk.'"
Moore concluded by writing that what was 'bothersome' about Eastwood's remarks was that he was backing up earlier comments made by TV show host Glenn Beck who has said he was thinking of 'killing Michael Moore'. Similar comments were also made by Fox News's Bill O'Reilly.
He wrote: 'This past week or so of hysterical attacks on me only proves that the American lovers of violence and the issuers of fatwas in OUR society haven't gone away. They are our American Isis - "Criticize or mock those whom we deify, like our sainted sniper, and we will harm you most assuredly.'''
Sarah Palin was among several high-profile people to defend the film and hit out at Moore for his 'disrespect' of U.S. troops.
Eastwood was presented with the Fan Choice award for Favourite Film Of 2014 for American Sniper at CinemaCon on Wednesday, at a special luncheon hosted by Warner Bros. to honour his work, called A Salute to Clint Eastwood.
Many thanks to Kevin Wilkinson