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Just as his new film The 15:17 to Paris chugs into theaters, Clint Eastwood is circling THE MULE at Warner Bros. and Imperative Entertainment, the Tracking Board has exclusively learned. The Hollywood legend plans to direct, produce and star as 90-year-old drug courier Leo Sharp, according to multiple sources.
The New York Times Magazine ran a story on Sharp in June 2014, and by November that same year, Imperative had acquired the article by Sam Dolnick, and tapped Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad) to direct and produce the film. At the time, Deadline reported that the producers were looking for a writer to tell this peculiar story, and oh, what a story it is!
Sharp was an award-winning horticulturist and decorated WWII veteran known for his prized day lilies when he was busted for running drugs for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, and sent to prison at the age of 90. He was transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Michigan in his beat-up old pickup truck when he was arrested by the DEA. Sharp was sentenced to just three years after his lawyer argued that his client’s dementia sent him down the wrong path.
We’ve heard that Eastwood’s Gran Torino scribe Nick Schenk wrote the initial draft of the script, which has since been rewritten by Weeds writer Dave Holstein.
Should Eastwood officially sign on, he would likely produce via his Malpaso banner along with Imperative’s Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas. The Mule is expected to be Eastwood’s next film at Warner Bros., which has been the filmmaker’s home for years, and will release The 15:17 to Paris on Feb. 9.
Warner Bros. does not comment on Eastwood projects, and declined to comment on this article several weeks ago. A representative for Imperative Entertainment did not respond to a request for comment. The company recently made the best of a bad situation when it supported Ridley Scott’s decision to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World, for which Plummer received an Oscar nomination.
Eastwood had been developing an adaptation of Jessica Buchanan’s book Impossible Odds before he abruptly switched gears and decided to move full steam ahead on The 15:17 to Paris, which stars the actual heroes who saved the titular train from a terrorist attack. He has not showed any signs of slowing down at age 87, and has not indicated any plans to retire following the release of Paris.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief