Why Clint Eastwood Prefers Directing Over Acting Nowadays

Clint Eastwood in The Mule
(Image credit: (Warner Bros.))

There are few living Hollywood legends as accomplished as Clint Eastwood. He first lit up the big screen as a wandering gunfighter in the spaghetti western A Fistful of Dollars in 1964, and since he hasn't traveled far from the spotlight. At 88-years-old, Eastwood is just as much of an established director as he is an iconic star, with his next project being The Mule, a crime drama he both directed and stars in.

CinemaBlend's own Sean O'Connell recently sat down with Clint Eastwood for an exclusive interview ahead of the release of The Mule. When asked whether he preferred acting or directing, Eastwood had some fair reasons why he still pursues each but leans more toward directing these days. In his words:

To doing both jobs, I've done it so many times that I never put the difference in. Directing a film is the same... it's a little more leisurely that way. You don't have to suit up. People aren't coming in and combing your hair or whatever. It's a little more leisurely, but different. But they both have an adventure. It's a new adventure. It's a new story. It has new obstacles. So that's what keeps it exciting.

Clint Eastwood sounds passionate as ever about the work he does, but realizes that sitting back in a baseball cap and calling the shots doesn't requires eyes on how he looks in the scene and so on. The actor/director looks to still find passion in both facets of filmmaking, especially considering he's doubling up as the star and man behind the camera in his upcoming film, The Mule.

Clint Eastwood has been busy at work directing film after film at quite the impressive rate, including both Jersey Boys and American Sniper in 2014, 2016's Sully and The 15:17 to Paris earlier this year. However, he hasn't been seen onscreen since 2012's Trouble with the Curve. It makes sense that Eastwood would want to sit back and focus on his directing craft in his later years, and leaving the onscreen glitz and glam to other actors. Then again, he has never waited too long before coming back to his roots in acting.

In The Mule, Eastwood will be playing a 90-year-old horticulturalist and war veteran who becomes a drug mule for the Mexican cartel. The story is based on a true story of a similar man detailed in a New York Times story published in 2014. The film looks to be an emotional role for Eastwood, as his character Earl Stone is filled with regret and sadness around his actions as he becomes in over his head as an FBI agent, played by Bradley Cooper catches wind of his dealings.

Clint Eastwood's comeback as both lead and director, past seen in Gran Torino and Million Dollar Baby, The Mule comes to theaters on December 14.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.