Friday, November 11, 2016

Robert Redford to Retire From Acting

Robert Redford in Pete's Dragon
Robert Redford is probably one of Hollywood's most beloved actors both in front of and behind the camera. His acting career spans more than 50 years and has spawned such iconic titles as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as well as Best Picture winners The Sting and Ordinary People. Still, the actor who also founded the independent film festival Sundance has come out with some sad news. He's not too far off from retirement. In fact, there's only two more films left until he says goodbye to his work in front of the camera. It's sad to hear, but his reasons for it do make plenty of sense.

What is especially impressive about Redford is that he has continued to transcend generations throughout his many decades. In recent years, he has received critical acclaim for All is Lost. He also had a memorable role in this summer's terrific Pete's Dragon. He seemed to be having a comeback of sorts that hit a nice range of performances. At the age of 80 however, the story looks a little different. He may be producing great work, but his heart clearly knows that things are changing. In an interview with his son Dylan, he stated:
“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. 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.”
On one hand, it is sad to lose Redford's screen presence. However, his planned activity for cinema going forward isn't entirely foregone. He still is leaving the option open to direct movies, especially since he will be the one in charge of the production. Considering that he's proven himself to be a great director behind the camera, especially with Quiz Show, there's no need to worry that he will likely bring along the passion to every film he does after 2017. After all, former actors like Ron Howard have had lengthy careers as directors that are arguably just as impressive as their acting heydays.

For those wanting to know the end game, there are two films left that Redford will star in, both currently scheduled for a release in 2017. The first is Our Souls at Night with Jane Fonda and Bruce Dern and focuses on two widows who form a relationship. The other is a film from Pete's Dragon director David Lowery called The Old Man and the Gun. It will also star Casey Affleck and focus around an elderly bank robber who wants to commit one more heist. Little else, including release dates, is known about these films at the time of publication.

Redford is definitely one of Hollywood's great cinematic legends, and it's rare to hear one announce their retirement while producing top notch work. Along with running the Sundance Film Festival, he has left an impact on cinema that will continue to be felt for decades to come. His acting features some of film's richest characters. His direction has explored various methodical aspects of our society. He has made works that will live on not as products of their time, but as timeless works of art. One can only hope that the final two films of his will be more than a nice sendoff.

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