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SAN DIEGO — Actor and director Clint Eastwood returned to Camp Pendleton Saturday for an advanced screening of his new film and to visit with Marines and sailors.

In an interview shared by officials at the base, Eastwood said he had visited Camp Pendleton multiple times. In 1986, he filmed “Heartbreak Ridge” on base, though in the film it was portrayed as North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune.

“It’s changed so much. The base has gotten huge,” he said. “It was nice then and it’s nice now.”

Eastwood, who could be seen signing autographs for fans after the screening, said he had a great appreciation for the Marine Corps.

“I see this and I’m proud that I got a chance to play a Marine, even though I’m not qualified to be a Marine at this present time,” Eastwood said.

“(It was) a great experience to be able to be so close to an iconic figure,” Juan Martinez, a Marine on base, told FOX 5.

The filmmaker’s new movie, “Richard Jewell,” is based on the true story of an American security guard who faced national scrutiny when he was falsely accused of planting a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.