Exclusive: Clint Eastwood plays a guy ‘even older than me’ in drug drama ‘The Mule’

One positive about being Clint Eastwood, Oscar-winning director: Make a movie about men in the twilight of their lives – like, say, the world’s oldest drug courier – and you always have a really good option as your star.

Still, Eastwood didn’t initially think of himself to star in “The Mule” (in theaters Dec. 14) until a fellow producer suggested he’d be the best man for the job. 

“All of a sudden, I started thinking, ‘Well, it might be kind of fun to play a guy who was even older than me,’ ” Eastwood, 88, recalls with a chuckle during an exclusive interview, his first for the movie. 

His newest film – Eastwood directs and stars for the first time since 2009’s “Gran Torino” – is inspired by the true story told in the 2014 New York Times Magazine article “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule.” It chronicled how Leo Sharp, a Detroit horticulturalist and World War II veteran, ran into financial trouble with his flower business and wound up transporting kilos of narcotics from Mexico.

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