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For me, cinema is life and vice-versa

Film director Sergio Leone was king of the spaghetti western and was the man who made Clint Eastwood a major star.

Born in Italy, his father was also a director and his mother was an actress from the silent movie era.

Sergio is best known for writing and directing the Dollars trilogy: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with the dramas set in America’s South West and Northern Mexico but actually filmed on location in Spain and Italy.

Clint Eastwood largely made his name playing The Man With No Name in all three, but declined the opportunity to appear in Sergio’s next very successful western, Once Upon A Time In The West.

With the action and The Man’s uncompromising squints into the sunlight speaking volumes, the films were famously short on lengthy dialogue. Sergio later said: “When you manage to express something with a look and the music instead of saying it with words, or having the character speak, I think it’s a more complete work.”

Speaking years later, Eastwood had fond memories of the man: “Sergio was visual from the very beginning,” he says. “He had an interesting approach..”

He also remembered the lighter side of the director: “He loved food. The first day we filmed, we were shooting in a studio outside of Rome, and we sat down for lunch. We had this huge meal. Spaghetti. I love spaghetti, so I loaded myself up. And then they served wine… For that first hour or two after lunch everything was pretty much filmed in slow motion!”