The actor, 91, returns to his Western roots in PEOPLE’s exclusive first look at Cry Macho, out in movie theaters and HBO Max on Sept. 17
Clint Eastwood is getting back on the horse.
In a PEOPLE exclusive first look at Cry Macho, directed and produced by the Oscar-winner, the multi-hyphenate Hollywood icon returns to his Western movie roots in a touching new drama.
The 91-year-old star appears at ease in boots, a cowboy hat, a coat and jeans as he plays Mike Milo, a one-time rodeo star who takes a job from an ex-boss to bring the man’s young son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett), home from Mexico.
Forced to take the backroads on their way to Texas, the older man and young boy find unexpected bonds between them.
The movie, as Eastwood tells PEOPLE, has been 40 years in the making.
“[Producer] Al Ruddy asked me if I would do it and I felt I was too young for the part,” says Eastwood. “I thought I might direct it then but it went by the wayside. Then, about a year ago, we brought it back out and feels like I’m just at the right age now and I thought it’d be fun to do.”
Eastwood adds he “didn’t really think about” what it felt like to finally make the film into a reality, saying he takes “one picture at a time, but this was the right time for this one so I feel good about that.”
As for what it’s like to work with young talent such as Minett, 15, Eastwood said the best part is bringing “out their natural talent.”
This is Eastwood’s latest film in his legendary career that’s spanned more than 100 projects.
He last appeared in and directed 2018’s The Mule. Other recent directorial outings include 2019’s Richard Jewell, 2018’s The 15:17 to Paris, 2016’s Sully and 2014’s American Sniper and Jersey Boys.
In December 2019, the actor and director appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where he spoke about continuing to work in his later years.
“I don’t think about it,” the star said when asked about his approaching 90th birthday. “I sometimes think, when I was a little kid and I used to hangout with my grandfather who was in his 90s, and I thought, ‘Jesus, who the h— would want to live this long?'”
In a January 2020 interview with Britain’s ITV, Eastwood said he still enjoyed working on set.
“I like doing it, it’s nice to be able to have a paying job,” he told This Morning via Gulf News. “I like being in films, I like making films and I started directing films because I thought one day I’m going to look up on screen and say, ‘That’s enough, Eastwood – you’d better do something else.'”
Cry Macho is in movie theaters and on HBO Max on September 17.