Robert Redford has had quite a career. Best known to many comic book fans as Hydra villain Alexander Pierce in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he’s been a fixture of the silver screen since the 1960s. In that time he has starred in a raft of iconic roles (The Sundance Kid in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Johnny Hooker in The Sting and Denys Finch Hatton in Out Of Africa), bagged himself an Oscar, and created the Sundance Film Festival.
It’s a career that’s grown and expanded over a period of fifty years, but based on recent comments from the star, it looks like his time in front of the camera will be over soon.
In an interview with his son, Dylan, for the Walker Arts Centre, Redford revealed that he plans to retire from acting after finishing his next two films: Our Souls at Night (a romantic drama based on Kent Haruf’s novel that reunites him with Jane Fonda) and “lighter piece” Old Man with a Gun (Pete’s Dragon director David Lowery‘s next project following a life-long bank robber, co-starring Casey Affleck and Sissey Spacek). The comments seemed to take even Dylan by surprise, coming in response to a question about whether Robert was inclined to return to painting:
“Yeah, a lot—and a lot lately because 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. So, I’m thinking of moving in that direction and not acting so much.”
Although perhaps not as big a star now as he was in the 1970s, Redford hasn’t exactly been quiet in recent years, appearing in the likes of one-man-stranded-at-sea thriller All Is Lost and Disney remake Pete’s Dragon. Some of his greatest recent turns have echoed back to his earlier years: his performance as Dan Rather in Truth saw him analyse how the media had changed since the days of Woodward and Bernstein in All The President’s Men, while his turn as villainous Hydra leader Alexander Pierce in Captain America: The Winter Soldier paid homage to 197os paranoia cinema such as Three Days Of The Condor, in which he famously starred. Given his age, however, it’s not too surprising to see him make a decision to step away from what sounds to be an exhausting profession.
This isn’t the end of Redford’s lifelong love affair with cinema, however. After explaining his decision, he clarified that, along with painting, he would still keep on working behind the camera:
“Once they’re [the two movies] done then I’m going to say, “Okay, that’s goodbye to all that,” and then just focus on directing.”
Not just an actor, Redford has had a successful directing career, helming nine films and winning the Best Director Oscar for his debut, Ordinary People (beating out Martin Scorsese for Raging Bull). In addition to the two movies he’s currently working on, Redford actually has a third film in the can: sci-fi romance The Discovery (starring Rooney Mara and Jason Segel), which is set for release in 2017, meaning there’s still three opportunities to catch him on the big screen before he’s officially finished.
The Discovery, Our Souls at Night and Old Man with a Gun are all set for release in 2017.