Clint Eastwood is one of the most well-known and respected actors of the last several decades. Now at 91 years old, he’s got the relaxed confidence of someone who is not trying to be anything he isn’t. Instead, he’s leaning into his age – allowing it to provide him with characters and projects that he couldn’t do when he was younger. His latest film, in which he both directs and stars, is a testament to that.
Age Doesn’t Bother Clint Eastwood
Most of us, long before we reach the age of 91, retire, slow down, and take it easy. Really, after decades of hard work, we deserve it! For Clint Eastwood, famous Hollywood actor and director, taking it easy just doesn’t suit him.
“What the hell am I still working for in my 90s?” He says he sometimes wonders. “Are people going to start throwing tomatoes at you? I’ve gotten to the point where I wondered if that was enough, but not to the point where I decided it was. If you roll out a few turkeys, they’ll tell you soon enough.” (1)
Age truly doesn’t bother this legendary Hollywood mainstay. Rather than fight against it, he leans into what he can do now, and who he can play, that he couldn’t in years past. Sure, there are things he has to be slightly more careful with, like riding horses in his upcoming film Cry Macho, but he’s still going strong.
“The wrangler was worried. She was saying, ‘Be careful, be careful now.’ She was scared I’d end up on my rear end,” he explained. “But if you treat the horse like a buddy, he’ll take care of you.”
Cry Macho is Clint Eastwood’s latest film in which he both stars and directs. It’s the story of a former rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder. In the film, Clint’s character agrees to take a job where he has to collect his friend’s son from his alcoholic mother and bring him home to his father. It is based on the late N. Richard Nash’s novel Cry Macho. Along the way, he finds a new purpose in teaching the young boy what it really means to be a man. (2)
This role is one that is a long-time coming for Eastwood. The idea was first presented to him by producer Al Ruddy in 1988. At the time, Eastwood felt too young to play the role himself, so he attempted to find someone else to be the lead.
“I’m too young for this. Let me direct and we’ll get Robert Mitchum, an older dude.” he recalled saying to Ruddy.
It didn’t work out with any of them and the movie didn’t come to fruition. He said he felt that he would always revisit the idea. Finally, all these years later, it was the right time.
“It’s fun when something’s your age, when you don’t have to work at being older.”
Read: 70 Horses Rescued From Slaughterhouses By Willie Nelson, And They Are All Allowed To Roam Freely On His Ranch
He’s Not Trying To Be Someone He’s Not
Much like his character in the film ends up teaching his friend’s young son, Eastwood is never trying to be someone he’s not. The fact that he’s decisively “old” by really anyone’s standards doesn’t bother him one ounce.
“I don’t look like I did at 20, so what?” he said. “That just means there are more interesting guys you can play.”
Though his punches don’t land as hard and perhaps he moves a little slower on set, he still enjoys what he does. Not to mention, he’s still quite good at it, too!
Of course, a lot has changed about the world and the film industry since Eastwood first started acting, and of course since he first directed a film in 1955. I mean, we’re talking about the man who grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. Though for someone who started out bagging groceries for $0.35 per hour, he’s certainly done quite well for himself. His very humble beginnings have always kept him grounded.
“I remember when I told my father I was dropping out of L.A. City College to train to be an actor at Universal with a six-month option. He said, ‘Don’t get too wrapped up in that, it could be really disappointing.’ I said, ‘I think it’s worth a try.’ But I always remember it could have gone the other way.”
Directing a movie during the COVID-19 pandemic was certainly more complicated than the usual set protocols, as well. One little girl almost had to be dropped from the film because of a false positive test. Luckily, that’s just what it was – a false positive – and they carried on. The movie has also been released in theatres and on HBO simultaneously. He doesn’t much like it, but he gets that this is the way things are now. As for the future, he doesn’t have anything set to go, but he’s open to doing more films if any ones he likes come his way.
“If something comes along where the story itself, the telling of it, is fun, I’m open to it.”