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It's Good to Be Eastwood

How the helicopter-flying, bull-bucking, sliver-screen-surfing Scott Eastwood—son of you-know-who—is playing by no one’s rules but his own.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a preview-only version of Scott Eastwood's cover story in the MAY 2015 issue of Men's Fitness. For the full story including exclusive content, download the app >>>

On a breezy late-February morning, Scott Eastwood takes me on a tour of his bachelor pad outside San Diego. There’s no other way to describe it, really: There’s a Ford F-150 parked in the driveway, a surfboard and kayak flung haphazardly across the lawn, and a fridge full of Sierra Nevada inside.

“Want a beer?” he asks. Why not? It’s 11 a.m.

The house, a 1978 bungalow, is a work in progress. Eastwood shows me where he and some buddies removed a wall from the living room to open the space, installing two crossbeams for support. There’s now a full-size pool table where most people would put a couch. “I was looking for a beater to fix,” he says. “A little beach house, you know. It was pretty compartmentalized.” As we head upstairs to check out the ocean view from his bedroom, we pass a desk littered with scripts (“I get so many fucking scripts”) and a hall closet open to reveal a hulking steel safe. “That’s my gun safe,” he says. How many guns does he own? “Ten? I don’t know. A bunch of rifles and shotguns.”

An expensive-looking long-sleeve T-shirt clings to Eastwood’s well-built chest—the result of good genes and a four-day-a-week gym habit. He’s 29 but looks older, slightly weathered, with crow’s-feet already appearing around his eyes. When he smiles, he looks like a movie star. Or rather, one specific movie star: his father, Clint Eastwood. The smirk is vintage Dirty Harry. I glance at a dozen fishing rods resting against the wall, and he laughs. “I’ve got enough guy shit here to last a lifetime,” he says.

“Guy shit” is Scott Eastwood’s calling card. During two hours together, our conversation ricochets from topics like his personal helicopter flying lessons to harpoon fishing to what it’s like to surf in Bali. It sometimes feels as if I’m talking to an endangered species: the last real man in Hollywood.

And let’s face it: Eastwood, like his father before him, is perhaps the closest thing in Hollywood to a red-blooded, all-American dude. So it’s no surprise he’s grabbing life by the horns. In last year’s World War II epic Fury, he played an American sergeant opposite Brad Pitt. In Eastwood’s first scene, the two walk side by side surveying the field for what feels like an eternity, neither man saying a word. And the kid holds the screen just fine. In fact, you can practically see Pitt handing him the baton just out of frame. Predictably, Eastwood was approached for the lead in this year’s hit film Fifty Shades of Grey. (He declined. More on that later.) Instead, he’s going through the same rite of passage A-listers Ryan Gosling and Channing Tatum have endured: starring in a Nicholas Sparks adaptation. In the new film The Longest Ride, he plays a cowboy bedding an uptight co-ed. Howdy, Hollywood.

Speaking of girls, as he and I settle into his backyard Adirondack chairs and crack two Sierra Nevadas, the conversation veers toward that subject. Eastwood tells me about how he recently took a lady friend up in a helicopter—he’s an amateur aviator in training—and flew her to a winery for lunch to impress her. “That’s a good move,” he acknowledges with an Eastwoodian squint.

Today, in fact, I’m also supposed to accompany him on a helicopter ride, but his body isn’t in a condition to be jostled around violently for 90 minutes. How come? “I bucked a bull yesterday,” he says, straight-faced, referring to the act of trying to stay on a raging bull’s back for eight seconds during a rodeo.

I assume Eastwood’s hurt himself doing last-minute reshoots for The Longest Ride, in which he plays a bull rider. Well, turns out I’m wrong. He was actually forbidden in the ring during filming—so while that’s him kissing the girl, it’s a stunt double underneath the cowboy hat, launching out of the chute and into the arena. Eastwood understands why: No studio in town would risk its lead actor by letting him try to ride a bull for eight seconds. Still, he couldn’t help himself.

“I can’t go promote a film and say, ‘Hey, I think I know what it’s like to be a bull rider’ when I’ve never actually bucked one,” he says. “I was so pissed off that Fox never let me do it, I called my buddies and said, ‘Come down, I’m gonna buck a bull today.’” I ask if the professionals gave him any advice first.

He smiles: “Man the fuck up and get on the bull.”

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