The Clint Eastwood Thriller On Netflix That Will Have You Rooting For Old People

By Jessica Goudreault | Published

clint eastwood juror #2
The Mule

If you’re a fan of Clint Eastwood’s classic films like Dirty Harry, Million Dollar Baby, and Unforgiven, then you need to watch The Mule that’s now streaming on Netflix. The 2018 crime thriller was directed by Clint Eastwood, who also stars as the main character, an impressive feat for a man who was in his last eighties during filming.

Clint Eastwood directed and starred in The Mule, an intense drama about a veteran that gets in over his head with the Mexican cartel.

The Mule follows Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood), a 90-year-old Korean War veteran who has become completely estranged from his wife and daughter due to his career. As he struggles to make ends meet with his small horticulturist business, he starts working as a drug mule for a Mexican cartel, running drugs from El Paso to Chicago.

Initially, it seems like a clever gig because who would suspect an old man of smuggling cocaine in his rusted old pick-up truck? However, nothing gets past the trained eyes and highly skilled minds of the DEA. Eventually, time and fate catch up with the badass old man.

Believe it or not, the story of The Mule is based on true events. Leo Sharp, who was the world’s oldest and most prolific drug mule at 87 years old, was arrested by DEA Special Agent Jeff Moore in 2011. After the arrest, Jeff Moore was featured in The New York Times as he discussed the details of Leo Sharp’s involvement with the Sinaloa Cartel.

the mule
The Mule

Soon after the article was published, the rights were sold to Imperative Entertainment. Years later, Clint Eastwood came on board to direct, produce, and star in The Mule, a film created for Imperative Entertainment and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Fellow producers included Malpaso Productions, Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera, Jessica Meier, Dan Friedkin, and Bradley Thomas.

The screenplay for The Mule was written by Nick Schenk, who had previously worked with Clint Eastwood on Gran Torino. Since 2018, the two have collaborated once more on 2021’s Cry Macho, another film in which Clint Eastwood directed and starred.

For The Mule, Clint Eastwood was able to work with Bradley Cooper once again after the two had previously worked on American Sniper in 2014, with Eastwood directing and Cooper starring in the lead role. In The Mule, Bradley Cooper plays Colin Bates, the DEA agent based on Jeff Moore.

Clint Eastwood reunited with Bradley Cooper in The Mule, after the pair made American Sniper together.

The rest of the impressive cast includes Laurence Fishburne as Warren Lewis (Bates’ supervisor), Dianne Wiest as Earl’s estranged ex-wife, and Michael Peña as Trevino (Bates’ partner). In addition, Clint Eastwood asked his real-life daughter Alison Eastwood to play Iris, Earl’s estranged daughter. The film producer/director was surprised that her father asked her to play the role, but she happily obliged.

The theme song for The Mule, Don’t Let the Old Man In, was written and performed by Toby Keith after he had an inspiring conversation with Clint Eastwood about what it’s like getting older. The song went on to reach number 41 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, making it one of Toby Keith’s most successful singles.

Even though The Mule is not a festive holiday film—in fact it’s quite the opposite—it was released to theaters just a few days before Christmas in 2018. Despite the grim tale and the box office competition from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the film managed to gross over $17 million in its opening weekend. This made it the third-best opening weekend of Clint Eastwood’s acting career, falling behind Gran Torino and Space Cowboys.

the mule
The Mule

Over time, The Mule grossed a worldwide total of $173.6 million, nearly quadrupling its production budget of $50 million.

Clint Eastwood hasn’t stopped working since The Mule was released, including his upcoming film, Juror #2.

Clint Eastwood and his cast and crew received great praise for their work on the film. Many were impressed that the aging actor still had what it takes to create a powerful, moving film. Some critics claimed that The Mule was Clint Eastwood’s swan song and that it was his farewell to Hollywood.

However, at 93 years old, Clint Eastwood is still acting and directing. His next project will be Juror #2, a thriller about a family man who sits as a juror on a high-profile murder trial and must make a life-or-death decision. While we all anxiously wait for this new film, check out The Mule on Netflix.