Credit: Anthony Michael Rivetti

“You never know when I’ll be back …”

This is how Clint Eastwood answered my question* recently about whether he planned to act again after 2008’s Gran Torino. That movie was one of his most successful — earning $148 million domestically ($270 worldwide) — largely because audiences wanted to see that iconic face, permanently marked with contempt for punks, on the big screen again.

Before he was an Oscar-winning director, he was a movie star — and fans still want him to be. He may soon oblige them.

The 81-year-old is in talks to star in a baseball drama called Trouble With the Curve, playing a veteran scout with eyesight troubles who talks his daughter into going on the road with him, sources tell EW. (The part of the daughter doesn’t have an actress attached yet.)

The Warner Bros. film may be directed by his longtime producer, Robert Lorenz, who is also in negotiations on the project. It would be Lorenz’s first film as the main director, though he has served as Eastwood’s assistant director on many films, including Space Cowboys, Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby. He started working with the filmmaker as second assistant on 1995’s The Bridges of Madison County and began producing movies for Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions with 2002’s Blood Work.

It would be the first time Eastwood has acted in a movie for a director other than himself in nearly two decades, the last time being Wolfgang Petersen’s In the Line of Fire, released in 1993. Being in front of the camera isn’t as appealing to him as it used to be.

“When I did Million Dollar Baby I thought, ‘Well, this would be a nice one to quit on,’ and then Gran Torino came along,” he told EW in August. “They’re not writing a lot of really great material for guys my age. In lieu of that, I would just prefer to stay behind the camera. But if a great role came along, yeah, I would do that. But actors are like boxers — they stay too long sometimes.”

A lot of moviegoers will be glad to see him go one more round, at the very least. Thank Beyonce, whose pregnancy postponed Eastwood’s plans to direct her in a remake of A Star is Born this winter.

Meanwhile, Eastwood has his latest directorial effort, J. Edgar, with Leonardo DiCaprio as the controversial FBI chief, hitting theaters on Nov. 9.

*(In truth, it wasn’t really my question, but my Uncle Joe’s, who perpetually asks whether Eastwood is going to act again whenever he hears his nephew will be interviewing him. Eastwood’s full response: “You tell Uncle Joe, you never know when I’ll be back …”)

Now at least we all have some idea.

Follow on Twitter, if you feel lucky, punk: @Breznican