Remember when Clint Eastwood was retiring from acting in 2008 after Gran Torino? Neither does anyone else, as he’s signed on to direct and star in another movie, this one with the most Eastwood-sounding title out of his entire filmography: Cry Macho.
The screenplay for the film was originally written in the early 1970s by N. Richard Nash – simply called Macho back then – but no studio was interested. So Nash did something smart. He wrote, as he explained to the Orlando Sentinel, “a quick novelisation”.
He got a $10,000 advance – about $51,000 today – and completed the book in two weeks. It got good reviews and, instantly, three studios that rejected the screenplay started a bidding war for the rights to the novel. Nash concluded: “I sold the rights to one. When they asked me to do the screenplay, I gave them what they had rejected — didn’t change a word — and they loved it!”
That screenplay was almost made into a movie twice. Roy Scheider begun production on it in 1991 before it fell apart, and then Arnold Schwarzenegger planned on making it his comeback vehicle after finishing his term as governor of California, but the project was cancelled.
Now it has new life as an Eastwood film, which will be his first acting role since The Mule and first directing gig since Richard Jewell. So, after all this, what’s the actual story about?
It revolves around a washed up horse breeder, formerly a rodeo star, who takes a job for some cash to transport a young man from Mexico to Texas away from his alcoholic mother. On their trip, the two grow an unlikely bond and learn lessons from each other. This sounds about as Eastwood as a modern Eastwood film could possibly be.
Since Nash passed away in 2000, the production will use his screenplay with a rewrite by Nick Schenk, who also penned Gran Torino. Eastwood will produce alongside Al Ruddy, Jessica Meier, and Tim Moore, who previously produced his films Million Dollar Baby, American Sniper, and Flags Of Our Fathers, respectively.