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Las Cruces economic impact from ‘The Mule’ at $1.3M

Clint Eastwood in a scene from “The Mule,” which was patrially filmed in Las Cruces. (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.)

Clint Eastwood’s latest film, “The Mule,” hit theaters nationwide on Friday, Dec. 14.

The production was partially filmed in New Mexico — Las Cruces specifically — in July.

In the short time the production was in the state, it left an impact economically.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, the production filmed for six days in the Las Cruces area, spending nearly $1.3 million locally.

More than 80 local workers took home wages totaling $400,000.

According to the state Film Office, the production employed about 85 New Mexico crew members and about 200 New Mexico background talent workers.

Meanwhile in Georgia, the production filmed for 33 days, spending $10 million in the communities of Atlanta, Rome, and Augusta. More than 400 local workers, including 100 extras, took home $4 million in wages.

“From the spectacular dunes of White Sands National Monument to the banks of the Savannah River, filming of The Mule delivered jobs and other economic benefits to the States of New Mexico and Georgia,” said Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. “Hundreds of workers in these communities helped bring ‘The Mule’ to life.”

According to the studio, the film focuses on Earl Stone, played by Eastwood, who is a man in his 80s and broke and alone. He is facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that requires him to drive. He soon discovers that he signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel, and Bradley Cooper plays a DEA agent hot on his tail.

For scenes in the cartel’s bait-and-switch tire shop, the production had moved to New Mexico, and for Andy Garcia’s character, Laton’s impressive mansion, they sourced a location in Las Cruces, and dressed it with all the wealth and flair suited to the ostentatious cartel boss.

In the story, Earl’s pickups and drop offs take him through several U.S. states, and the film follows him along as he drives.

To accomplish the exterior shots, Eastwood and a small crew took Earl’s two pickups — old and new — on a real three-day road trip near the end of filming.

“We ended up going through New Mexico, Colorado, and up toward

Chicago, Illinois, in order to show the countryside—the corn fields, the cows in their pastures, the open desert and open roads,” said Tim Moore, producer. “For three days we got Clint behind the wheel as Earl, driving and singing his songs.”

“Earl is a guy who knows he hasn’t done the right thing by his family, but now he’s seeing that they may never forgive him. That’s a crushing blow,” Eastwood said in a release. “We always think we have time. Maybe we don’t. But maybe we do. Maybe even Earl does.”

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