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Clint Eastwood could play 87-year-old Michigan City drug smuggler

Clint Eastwood could play late Michigan City resident Leo Earl Sharp.

Associated Press

Could one of America's most celebrated actors and directors portray a Northwest Indiana man in a new film?

But being that the 87-year-old cultural icon Clint Eastwood hasn't appeared on screen in six years and that his latest reported role is a far cry from the lawmen he started out playing, you've got to ask yourself one question, "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, reader?

Hollywood trade publications report that Eastwood – whose legendary acting career includes "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly," "Unforgiven," "Million Dollar Baby," "Gran Torino," "Heartbreak Ridge," "The Bridges of Madison County" and of course the "Dirty Harry" movies – is in talks to play Michigan City native Leo Sharp, considered the world's oldest drug mule. 

Sharp, a World War II veteran and florist, got arrested with more than 200 pounds of cocaine in 2011 on Interstate 94 about an hour west of Detroit, according to Times archives. A Bronze Star recipient, Sharp was ultimately sentenced to three years in prison and died at the age of 92 in 2016. 

Police say the Michigan City man transported more than 1,400 points of cocaine for Mexican drug cartels to Michigan between 2009 and 2011.

Sharp reportedly suffered from dementia and told police the cartel threatened him at gunpoint to keep him working as a drug mule. They reportedly referred to him as the "old man" or "Tata," Spanish for dad, according to court documents.

"He is a colorful, self-made, charitable man who has worked hard throughout this entire admirable, extraordinary, and long life," his attorney Darryl Goldberg wrote while asking the court for leniency in sentencing in 2014. "Mr. Sharp made a monumental mistake at a moment of perceived financial weakness, and was exploited and threatened, but his conduct in this case was truly an aberration from a law-abiding life."

Eastwood reportedly would direct the film based on a script by "Gran Torino" screenwriter Nick Schenk and "Weeds" writer Dave Holstein. Eastwood is of course also an Academy Award recipient as a director, and his credits include celebrated films like "Mystic River" and "Letters from Iwo Jima."


Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.