Clint Eastwood Talks The Best Day Filming Cry Macho And How Covid Was Involved

Mike Milo (Clint Eastwood) smiles in a scene from 'Cry Macho'

COVID-19 has been one of the main characters in the film industry over the last year and a half. When it hasn’t driven changes to how we watch movies, it’s led to some dramatic moments behind the scenes, as casts and crews have had to deal with the reality of the pandemic. That was true for huge studio films, but even smaller-scale productions, like Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho, were not immune to the effects of the virus. Luckily, in this film’s case, a COVID scare actually led to an unexpected moment of joy.

By the time Cry Macho went into production in late 2020, many film sets had a handle on how to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak. That didn’t mean the film was completely free of drama related to the virus. Clint Eastwood told The Los Angeles Times that the Cry Macho set had a scare that could have resulted in a significant change in the film’s production. One of the young actresses cast to play the granddaughter of Marta (Natalie Traven) was set to film her part when she tested positive for the virus. However, he said, ultimately the cast and crew received good news:

But then the producer came to me and said the test was a false positive and we could use the girl after all. She was so elated, it was one of the happiest days we had on the whole picture.

The famed actor and director has been making movies for decades, so he is surely no stranger to facing unique challenges on a film set. Still, it’s safe to say this was probably the first time that a pandemic posed a threat to one of his projects being completed the way it was originally envisioned. That’s especially true since the film was first brought to Eastwood as a potential directorial project in the late 1980s. He told the Los Angeles Times that back then, he thought he was too young to play the role of a retired rodeo star who takes on the task of reuniting a father with his son. He also mentioned that at the time, other actors’ participation fell through as well.

As we all know, Cry Macho is far from the only Hollywood film that was affected by COVID-19. In fact, Eastwood and the rest of the crew were very lucky that they didn’t need to make serious alterations to their plans, since many films, including Dwayne Johnson’s Red Notice and Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible 7 had to delay or shut down production due to the pandemic.

While the film hasn’t exactly earned the actor the best reviews of his career by a long shot, it’s still worth noting that at 91 years old, the fact that he’s able to actively work both in front of and behind a camera is admirable.

Cry Macho is currently playing in theaters nationwide, and is available to stream on HBO Max.

Katherine Webb