If I had to denote what most male acting performances who are nominated for Oscars have in common, it would be something like “cry macho.” Now, that phrase is not just a snarky thing I think, but the title of an actual dang movie from an actual dang guy who’s been nominated for a bunch of Oscars! Deadline reports that Clint Eastwood will direct and star in a new film, the aptly named Cry Macho.
The title, besides its interesting title, has an interesting story behind it. It was originally written in the early 1970s by N. Richard Nash as a screenplay called simply Macho that no studio was interested in. So what did Nash do? He explained to the Orlando Sentinel:
It occurred to me to do a quick novelization. I got a $10,000 advance ($51,800 today) and completed it as Cry Macho in two weeks. It got surprisingly good reviews and the instant they appeared, three studios, all of which had rejected the screenplay, started to bid for this awful, little thing. 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, ironically now loved now that it had some success as a novel, had two potential takes on an actual film. Roy Scheider began production on it in 1991 before it was aborted, and Arnold Schwarzenegger planned on making it his comeback vehicle after finishing his term as governor of California; this, too, was cancelled.
But now Eastwood will tackle the material, as director and star, his first starring project since 2018’s The Mule. The story involves a washed up horse breeder who used to be a rodeo star (Eastwood, natch) 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 — all the while making the audience, I’d imagine, cry pretty macho indeed. This production will use Nash’s original screenplay (Nash died in 2000) with a rewrite from Nick Schenk (Gran Torino). Eastwood will produce alongside Al Ruddy (Million Dollar Baby), Jessica Meier (American Sniper), and Tim Moore (Flags of Our Fathers).
For more on Eastwood, here’s an editorial on his fascination with tragedy.