Back in 2016 while participating in an interview for the Walker Art Center, award-winning actor Robert Redford announced his plan to retire from acting after finishing his last two films. Now, after the release of director Ritesh Barta’s romantic drama OUR SOULS AT NIGHT in 2017, and the upcoming bow of THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN, Redford is officially ready to call it quits.
Back in November of 2016, while speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Redford explained to the outlet that he felt as if the time had come for him to step away from the acting spotlight, and that he hopes to focus on other artistic endeavors.
“Yeah, a lot — and a lot lately because I’m getting tired of acting,” Redford said. “I’m an impatient person, so it’s hard for me to sit around and do take after take after take. At this point in my life, age 80, it’d give me more satisfaction because I’m not dependent on anybody. It’s just me, just the way it used to be, and so going back to sketching — that’s sort of where my head is right now.”
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Of course, the term “sketching” refers to Redford’s desire to further explore his talent and passion for painting, among other forms of artistic expression. Having just completed work on THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN for director David Lowrey, Redford says that he feels as if the time is right for him to fly solo for a while, and remove himself from the demanding grip of his typical acting gig.
Now, in yet another sit-down with EW, Redford added an adendum to his plan by saying, “Never say never, but I pretty well concluded that this would be it for me in terms of acting, and [I’ll] move towards retirement after this ’cause I’ve been doing it since I was 21. I thought, Well, that’s enough. And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive?”
Redford then confessed that the “framework” for THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN served as something of an inspiration for him to declare the crime comedy as his last foray into the unpredictable world of acting. In the upcoming film, Redford plays Forrest Tucker, the real-life career criminal who delights in the notion of robbing banks and breaking out of prison. “To me, that was a wonderful character to play at this point in my life,” Redford said of Tucker, whose polite crime spree lasted for over 60 years. “The thing that really got me about him — which I hope the film shows — is he robbed 17 banks and he got caught 17 times and went to prison 17 times. But he also escaped 17 times. So it made me wonder: I wonder if he was not averse to getting caught so he that could enjoy the real thrill of his life, which is to escape?”
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While Redford is no longer interested in stepping in front of the camera, he has not ruled out the possibility of one day directing future projects. “We’ll see about that,” said Redford, unconvincingly.
In looking to walk away from the limelight, Mr. Redford will be leaving a storied acting career behind with several awards and memorable films to his name. To see Redford in what is planned as his final film, be sure to check out THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN when it arrives in theaters on September 28th.