“I don’t look like 20 anymore. So what? That means there are much more interesting types that you can play, “he says. Clint Eastwood, determined at this point in his life to find the positive side to everything. Also to the evolution of his career as a film hero. In his case, it does not seem like a conventional phrase or commonplace, but a full-fledged statement of principles. It is enough to find her again in one of the few interviews she accepted. on the eve of the arrival of Cry Macho, his film number 39 as a director, whose premiere in Argentina is announced by Warner for this Thursday.
At 91, Eastwood has no one quite like him today. There is no other director or actor who at that age manages to arouse so much global interest with each new appearance. “This is a strange movie in today’s world, something out of rhythm,” admitted Eastwood in a conversation with the Los Angeles Times from Carmel, the small California coastal town of 4,000 inhabitants that is his place in the world and that arrived to govern as mayor between 1986 and 1988. There he has a property in a country club that he uses, among other things, to play golf and raise some horses.
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It’s not the only thing keeping you busy. He says that he plays the piano for a while every day (each new film of his includes some composition of his own in the soundtrack) and receives all the time the visit of one of his eight children (who are between 24 and 67 years old) and his grandchildren. He never thinks about retirement, although he admits that a project has not yet appeared that excites him enough to take it as a reference for an upcoming film. “Nothing new has yet leaked in front of my eyes to excite me. But the same thing happened to me before Cry Macho. I’m open for that to happen again. For a new story to appear as always that I find fun to tell ”.
Cry Macho hits theaters around the same time it marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Eastwood’s first film as a director, Deadly obsession (Play Misty for Me), filmed precisely in Carmel. It hit theaters in the United States around this time in 1971 and was released in Argentina in February 1972. Since then, we have been fortunate that the vast majority of the almost 40 works directed by the last great Hollywood classic have passed by the cinemas of our country.
With Cry Macho The same will happen, but with a novelty. After an initial window of projection on the big screen, its arrival to streaming through the HBO Max platform is expected very soon, the same one that in the United States will have this film available from this weekend simultaneously to its arrival on the big screen. In Argentina, on the other hand, it will be necessary to wait a few weeks. Eastwood is not thrilled by this new reality. “It is not my favorite thing in the world. How is this going to work? I don’t know ”, he confesses. Although he lived thanks to television his first recognition with the remembered series of the West Rawhide (Rawhide), Eastwood is a movie man.
“When I started I was living in Seattle and a friend convinced me to accompany him to Los Angeles and go with him to LA City College,” recalls Eastwood, born in San Francisco and identified all his life with Californian life. I became interested in acting when I saw another friend in a drama class. I began to delve into the subject and at first I was not convinced by being hypnotized in front of others. But over time I realized that there was a technique for that. And I decided to dive into it. Everything else was enthusiasm. “
Luck is added to work discipline, Eastwood adds: “My career was largely based on good fortune. Things in my case always worked like this. Being in the right place at the right time. It also happened to me when I finished filming Cry Macho in New Mexico. I was just thinking: how lucky I was to have been there ”.
Cry Macho It is a project that Eastwood had been considering since 1988, when producer Albert Ruddy proposed it to him. Eastwood thought he could direct it and that Robert Mitchum would play the title character, a veteran rodeo star and expert horse breeder who accepts a proposal from a former boss, determined to win back his teenage son who lives in Mexico with his mother.
The idea did not prosper and over time the project was considered by different Hollywood figures, from Burt Lancaster to Roy Scheider and Pierce Brosnan. For a long time Arnold Schwarzenegger thought that Cry Macho it was going to be the ideal project to return to the cinema after his experience as governor of California. But none of that happened and Eastwood finally, after long decades of waiting, resolved to take the idea into his own hands and teamed up with veteran Ruddy to make it happen. It used the original screenplay by N. Richard Nash, written in 1975, with input from Nick Shenk, who previously worked with Eastwood on Gran Torino and The mule.
The action takes place in 1979 and focuses on that peculiar trip back to Texas shared by the old man and the boy through rural Texas. Cry Macho it is also an allusion to cock fights in which the boy participates with the intention of earning some money. And a kind of allegory about those who dedicate themselves to flaunting their virility.
The rooster appears throughout the entire film, but the production had to resort to 11 different copies. “They are not the most versatile animals in the world,” Eastwood quipped. Speaking of animals, this is the first time in almost 30 years, since The unforgivables (1992), that Eastwood gets on a horse. The film has all the visuals of a contemporary western, with its big star once again sporting the classic cowboy hat. His character, Mike Milo, is part of that world as a former rodeo champion.
“When I got back on the bike, the trainer wasn’t very convinced. He was telling me to be careful, because he was afraid that I would end up with my butt on the ground. But if you treat your horse like a friend, he will know how to take care of you. And that’s how it happened, ”says the actor, who also gives himself the pleasure as in the old days of punching one of the bad guys on duty in the face. “He may not be as good at hitting as he used to be, but it was fun to do it,” he says.
The complete filming of Cry Macho it was done in the middle of a pandemic. It began on November 4, 2020 in Albuquerque (New Mexico) and lasted until December 16 in other nearby places, such as Socorro County and the small and picturesque city of Belen, with an atmosphere similar to that of Mexican towns. The cast also shows this bilingual characteristic: Rafo, the boy who accompanies Eastwood on the trip back to the United States, is played by the young Mexican Eduardo Minnett, a figure in the telenovela. The rose of Guadalupe. He is joined by his compatriots Natalia Traven and Horacio García Rojas, along with the Chilean Fernanda Urrejola. The only prominent English-speaking figure is that of Dwight Yoakam, a well-known country singer who has a parallel acting career.
Covid-19 was never a concern for the nonagenarian Eastwood. In fact, the only drawback he remembers around contagion was the situation that affected one of the girls who appear in the film as the granddaughters of one of the central characters. “They did a test and it turned out to be a false positive. After all, we could count on her in the cast. I was so elated that it was one of the happiest days of the shoot, ”said Eastwood, also famous for his fast filming methods and for knowing more than any of his colleagues what saving resources and saving time and money mean. on those issues. More than worrying about his condition as a person at risk against Covid-19, Eastwood was attentive to possible delays in his always efficient shooting plans due to the possible appearance of a case. That did not happen and Cry Macho it was filmed in just over a month.
The film can be seen from the long evolution in the path of the hero that Eastwood’s cinema has shown since the beginning of his career, something that becomes increasingly clear in his long and extraordinary career as a director. This work is one of the most studied by film analysts, something that Eastwood himself does not seem to be too interested in.
“I am not a person who is dedicated to self-analysis. But sometimes I look back at my characters, like Dirty Harry, and wonder about their feelings. And I see that each of them does nothing but repeat things that arise from life. Things that you have seen, heard, felt and lived ”, admitted the director recently.
On that tour, Cry Macho shows the most sentimental side of a hero who at this point in life could not be as hardened as in the past. Quite the opposite. One of the many scholars of Eastwood’s film work, William Beard, observes in one of the essays in his book Persistence of Double Vision (2000) that the traditional look of the invulnerable hero, a reference to a community and a beacon of conduct in the face of the debacle of the institutions, begins to change little by little into another equally heroic character, but with greater responsibilities and much more affective commitment.
And he says that this new profile is expressed in a real or metaphorical way in the place of father or protector (authentic or substitute) that it begins to assume in films of the 80s and continues with much clarity later on. In that sense, Cry Macho seems to follow a line that begins to be insinuated in titles such as Honkytonk Man and Bronco Billy, which are also part of that contemporary world marked by the spirit of the western or the classic stories that take place along the way.
Eastwood is not interested in such reflections. He prefers to go forward from his own inspiration. “It’s just fun meeting a character that is suitable for your age. And that you don’t have to make an effort to show that you are older. I never thought of directing and acting like it was an intellectual sport. I don’t want to think too much about these things. If you think about it too much, you run the risk of disarming it and taking it to a point where in the end you don’t like it, ”he acknowledges in the conversation with the Los Angeles Times.
Everyone believed that Eastwood had said goodbye to acting in The mule; an old project had to come back from the past to change his mind. At 91 he found another “cool guy” to impersonate. A new example (now the definitive one?) Of the eternal path of an increasingly humanized hero.
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Clint Eastwood’s most sentimental return and the evolution of the hero’s long road