- Enforced Method Acting: Toby Keith was sick the day he recorded the soundtrack song "Don't Let the Old Man In", which ended up fitting the weary, weathered sound that Eastwood was looking for.
- Playing Against Type: Contrary to the gruff, violent, slightly antisocial old man that Eastwood has been playing for decades as exemplified by Walt Kowalski in Gran Torino, his character here is pretty charming and gregarious, as well as prone to talk his way out of tight spots rather than fight or threaten, even though he uses some racial slurs casually without meaning harm.
- Real-Life Relative: Clint Eastwood's daughter Alison also has a role in the film (Iris).
- Reality Subtext: The line, "This is the last one. So help me, God, this is the last one" played over the trailer applies in-universe but also has strong implications for the eighty-eight year old Eastwood taking another, possibly final, round starring in a film he also directs. It's quite similar to the atmosphere surrounding 2008's Gran Torino, which was also speculated to be the last starring role of Eastwood's lengthy career.
Trivia / The Mule