They say (of course, we all know who ‘they’ are) that actor Gene Hackman’s phone stopped ringing after the 1992 Clint Eastwood-directed film, Unforgiven. Hackman played a cruel sheriff who is pursued by Eastwood. The excellent cast included Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris, earning no less than four Academy Awards. Best Picture and Best Director went to Clint Eastwood. Hackman won Best Supporting Actor. Eastwood’s own performance lost out to Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman.
Eastwood stated that this would be his last Western film for fear of repeating himself, or unconsciously imitating someone else’s work. Here are a few other films by the now-retired Gene Hackman:
In 2001, Hackman headlined the cast of Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums with Angelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson. That same year, Hackman also starred in Heartbreakers as a wealthy widower targeted by a gold-digging mother and daughter duo played by Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
In 2003, Hackman was reunited with his old friend Dustin Hoffman in Runaway Jury, also featuring John Cusack.
In 2004, his final film was the comedy Welcome to Mooseport (2004), in which he stars as a former president who campaigns against a local (played by Ray Romano) to become mayor of a small town. While promoting the film, Hackman appeared on Larry King and said that he did not have another film project lined up, adding that his film career was “probably all over.” I doubt this, and actually predict that the unexpected will enable us to once more see Gene Hackman on the big screen.