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Clint Eastwood

Back in the saddle at 91

Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter

“Last year, on a film set in New Mexico, something extraordinary happened,” says Kevin Maher in The Times. Clint Eastwood got up on a horse. The 91-year-old Hollywood icon was shooting his new film Cry Macho and hadn’t ridden since 1992. “The crew was so excited,” said the film’s producer Tim Moore. “It’s Clint! Back up in the saddle again!”

Eastwood is always defying expectations. In Cry Macho a younger character tells him: “You used to be strong, macho.” Eastwood retorts, “I used to be a lot of things, but I’m not now. And I’ll tell you something – this macho thing is overrated.” It upends his entire tough-guy persona in just a couple of lines.

He grew up in Depression-era California, following his family around the state as his father looked for work. Because they moved so often, every year a young Eastwood would have to start a new school, friendless. “You eventually learn to exist by yourself,” he tells Maher. “To play by yourself and to get along by yourself.” To help the loneliness, he had imaginary friends – it’s what led him to acting.

Eastwood has since starred in 72 films and won four Oscars – but not everyone thought he was brilliant. Sergio Leone, who directed Eastwood in the classic Dollars trilogy, once joked that he had just two expressions on camera: “With hat and no hat.” And in 1959, Eastwood and Burt Reynolds were sacked from the Hollywood studio Universal – Reynolds because he couldn’t act and Eastwood because his Adam’s apple stuck out too far. “I said to Clint, you know, you are really screwed,” Reynolds revealed in an interview with Larry King. “Because I can learn how to act. You can’t get rid of that Adam’s apple.”

Watch the trailer for Cry Macho here👇