At 91, Clint Eastwood shows no signs of slowing down, either as an actor or a director.
With his latest film, Cry Macho — in which he does double duty as leading man and filmmaker — premiering this week, the Hollywood icon is reflecting on his legacy, and age, in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“I don’t look like I did at 20, so what?” Eastwood says of life as a nonagenarian. “That just means there are more interesting guys you can play.”
That includes Mike Milo, an ex-rodeo star and horse breeder who is the main character in Cry Macho. Eastwood says the 1970s-set Western is a film that's been on his radar since 1988, when he was in his late 50s.
“I’m too young for this," he thought at the time. "Let me direct and we’ll get Robert Mitchum, an older dude.”
But the movie didn't come to life until now, with Eastwood taking on the role he'd once considered himself too young play to play.
“I always thought I’d go back and look at that. It was something I had to grow into,” he says. “One day, I just felt it was time to revisit it. It’s fun when something’s your age, when you don’t have to work at being older.”
Indeed, not trying too hard at acting — "I never thought of acting as an intellectual sport. You don’t want to overthink something," he says — suits him just fine. As for directing, a line of work he initially took on because "the whole point of directing was something you can do as an older guy," the Oscar winner says he carries on because "I just like it." But he admits that his age has given him pause.
“What the hell am I still working for in my 90s?" Eastwood, who recalls bagging groceries for 37 cents an hour as a youth, notes. "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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the Unforgiven star opens up about fears he'd fall off his horse on set (he didn't) and how Cry Macho will stream on HBO Max and hit movie theaters simultaneously. Like many directors, he has a bone to pick about the latter situation.
"[It's] not my favorite thing in the world," he says. "How that’s going to work out at all? I still don’t know.”
The modern movie-watching experience may have changed _ particularly over the last year and a half — but Eastwood maintains that he has not.
“I never think about it,” Eastwood says. “If I’m not the same guy, I don’t want to know anything about it. I might not like the new guy. I might think, ‘What am I doing with this idiot?’"