“Unforgiven” is considered one of the best movies of all time because of. His direction, pacing, acting and script are all spot on and trimmed neatly from every inch of extra fat. What makes it surprising is the fact that in January 1984, Sonya Chernus, a longtime collaborator of Clint Eastwood and co-writer of Rogue Josie Wales, sent Eastwood an internal memo containing nothing but a shadow to the script by David Webb Peoples.
You can view original note, in which Chernus’ venomous dislike of the script is palpable, in the archives of Clint Eastwood. Admitting that she only read the first 40 pages – which she says made her sick – before skimming through the rest, Chernus writes that she doesn’t even care how it ends. Calling the script “garbage” and “an insult”, she criticizes it for what she calls a lack of believable characters and accuses people of lacking a basic understanding of dramatic writing.
However, the director thought differently. AT interview with DGAEastwood revealed that he thought the script for Unforgiven was great in its original form. At first, he asked Peoples to make a few changes, but he soon realized that the more he messed around with him, the more he was in danger of stealing his fame. Eastwood said he called Peoples and said, “Forget what I said about these changes. I’m not doing anything other than changing the name.”