LOS ANGELES — Clint Eastwood’s bizarre cameo at the Republican National Convention drew some scathing reviews Friday from his movie industry colleagues in traditionally Democrat-leaning Hollywood.
The Oscar-winning actor-director’s own agent declined to comment on the rambling performance — in which the 82-year-old “Dirty Harry” star chatted with an invisible Barack Obama — but others were less discreet.
“What WAS that thing Clint Eastwood just did? How could they let it happen??” actress Mia Farrow tweeted after the Thursday night turn, shortly before Mitt Romney formally accepted his party’s presidential nomination.
“Is clint eastwood meant to instill confidence in republicans?!” wrote Zachary Quinto, who played Spock in the latest big screen version of “Star Trek.” “I am legitimately scared of his talking to imaginary obama.”
Eastwood, whose next movie, “Trouble With The Curve,” is set for release in September, endorsed Romney earlier in August, and backed the 2008 Republican nominee, Senator John McCain.
On Thursday he arguably stole the show at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida — but unfortunately not in a good way, for many.
His dialogue with an empty chair, while in theory not a bad dramatic idea, was judged rambling and borderline offensive by some critics, and widely lampooned on the Internet.
“That was so awesome. Biden has to go shirtless for DNC to top it,” Saturday Night Live star Seth Meyers tweeted, referring to Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Convention next week in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Eastwood’s own agent, Leonard Hirshan, was tight-lipped about the performance — which he had said in advance was part of Eastwood’s “personal life” as opposed to his movie industry work.
“That’s not for me to have anything to say about. No comment,” Hirshan told AFP.
Hollywood is famously Democrat- and liberal-leaning: George Clooney is among A-listers who openly back Obama, even hosting a high-profile fund-raiser at his Hollywood Hills home in May.
That said, it was well known that Eastwood is a Republican — he served as mayor of his plush coastal hometown of Carmel south of San Francisco, and has made no secret of his leanings.
But celebrity-watcher and CNN talk show host Piers Morgan said that with his Tampa turn, the film legend may just have shot himself — and the Republicans — in the foot.
“I think the Romney camp was probably as horrified as everyone else. They were probably assuming they would have their version of George Clooney,” Morgan told the Hollywood Reporter.
“Clooney would have stuck rigidly to what he’d agreed with the Democratic party, delivered five minutes of non-chalant charm, wowed everybody, and gone off to the bar,” said the British former journalist.
Instead, with Eastwood, “the whole thing just got increasingly surreal, and I thought, very awkward and by the end not only embarrassing but pretty damaging to Mitt Romney,” he added.
“Clint eclipsed Mitt … One of the craziest things I’ve ever watched,” he tweeted.
Well-known US film critic Roger Ebert voiced what many others in Hollywood thought, lamenting his performance even while the legendary Eastwood was still on stage. “Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic.
“He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.”