THE COWBOY AND THE LADY

ON THE SET OF THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, EASTWOOD AND STREEP WERE, ODDLY, AN INSPIRED MATCH

They did not come easily to Iowa. Meryl Streep hated the book. When her assistant asked to borrow one of the several copies of The Bridges of Madison County that friends had pressed on her, she refused. "I'm not going to let you read it," she said. "It's a crime against literature." She told her agents she was not interested in doing the movie version.

Clint Eastwood didn't hate the novel. What he loathed were several early-draft screenplays based on it. They tried to flesh out Robert James Waller's slight narrative with flashbacks and fantasy sequences, and one of them even...

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