Just over a year ago, reports started to circulate that Hollywood legend Robert Redford was on the brink of retirement. The actor/producer denied the reports and has appeared in One More Chance and Pete's Dragon since, with four other films in various stages of development.
Redford himself acknowledges that at 80 years old, though, it may soon be time to step away from the acting part of his career.
“I’m getting tired of acting. I’m an impatient person, so it’s hard for me to sit around and do take after take after take,” Redford told his grandson Dylan Redford during a recent interview at Walker Art Center. “I’ve got two acting projects in the works: Our Souls at Night, with Jane Fonda, a love story for older people who get a second chance in life, and Old Man with a Gun, a lighter piece with Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek. Once they’re done then I’m going to say, ‘Okay, that’s goodbye to all that,’ and then just focus on directing.”
One of Hollywood’s great veteran actors, Redford is best known to comic book fans for his role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which he said during interviews he took on so that his younger family, who enjoyed comics, could see his work in a new light. The photo attached to the Walker Art Center interview features Redford reading his grandson a 1993 Catwoman comic. In The Winter Soldier, he played the villainous Alexander Pierce, a rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. commander who secretly worked for HYDRA.
Redford began his screen career in 1960, with guest appearances on Maverick and Perry Mason, among many others. He would go on to become one of the most beloved actors of his generation and one of the most consistently bankable stars of the '60s and '70s.
Redford’s other notable films include All The President’s Men, Out of Africa, The Sting, The Great Gatsby (1974), and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
He was also one of a number of big-name actors courted by Warner Bros. to play Superman/Clark Kent in the 1978 film from Richard Donner. Donner wanted an unknown, though, and feared a big-name actor like Redford would bring too much of his own personality to the role, so he was glad when the actor asked for more money than Warner wanted to give him.
In the late '60s and early '70s, Redford started using proceeds from his acting career to amass land in Utah. He bought up a ski area and renamed it Sundance. Starting in 1981, he would establish The Sundance Institute, who would underwrite a film festival there which became one of the premiere places in the world to find young, innovative cinematic talent. Named for Redford's character in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sundance became more than a convention: it became a brand, complete with its own TV channel.
Besides being one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood history, Redford is a political activist, a supporter of independent cinema, and a recipient of both the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors.
Besides directing, producing, and running the Sundance Festival, Redford indicated he would likely return to art; before he became famous as an actor, he tried his hand at painting.