Oscar® winner Robert Redford has played countless charismatic rebels and outsiders in his longstanding career. Above all he’s known for his performances in the Seventies. From a sharp shooting train robber (BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID) and an artful conman (THE STING) to an intuitive therapist for both animals and humans (THE HORSE WHISPERER). As both actor and director, Redford has had a hand in over 50 films in the course of his 60-year career. And in THE OLD MAN & THE GUN, in what is likely to be his last role, Redford plays bank robber Forrest Tucker, winning over both screen co-star Sissy Spacek (CARRIE) and audiences with his unmistakable charm.
Set in the Eighties, David Lowery’s crime caper is a delightful throwback as well as a nostalgic look back at Redford’s life’s work. The role of charming crook could have been written for him, and it’s both a humorous and adroit farewell to acting.
In an interview, Redford talks about both his past working in the film industry and his intentions for the future. Not many people know that he has in fact always been a passionate painter. The death of Redford’s mother while he was still very young affected his performance both in school and on the sportsfield, resulting in losing a grant to attend the University of Colorado Boulder. After working on the oil fields, he travelled to Paris and Florence, studying at the art academies there. His love of painting even saw him working as a street artist for a time. Redford is wistful about his career, which didn’t allow any time for fine art. But now he is setting acting aside to concentrate on his first love.
He has however been profoundly shaped by the media landscape over all these years. He always kept away from typical Hollywood society, but when asked whether there is a parallel between him and his character in THE OLD MAN & THE GUN, he responds soberly: “For both actors and thieves, there is always a moment of depression after joy. Acting is a true joy, but it’s framed by thousands of difficult moments.”
There are however two sides to the coin. These difficult moments build character, but Redford also reminds us to let things just happen: “Life is just more exciting when you’re living it: You become more reflective, you understand your own potential better, and at the same time learn to enjoy things more.”