“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,” Redford told Entertainment Weekly. “I thought, ‘Well, that’s enough. And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive?'”
Helmed by director David Lowry, The Old Man & The Gun sees Redford playing the role of real-life bank robber Forrest Tucker, who captivated the public’s eye by escaping San Quentin at the age of 70 and embarking on a string of unprecedented heists.
“To me, that was a wonderful character to play at this point in my life,” added Redford, who’s set to turn 82 later this month. “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?”
For Redford, a career dedicated to directing might be his form of “escape” — or at least his next step. “…I’m getting tired of acting,” he said back in 2016. “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 as much.”
Whether he’s situated in front of or behind the camera, Redford’s many talents have been well documented and recognized since his start in the ’60s. In addition to appearing in acclaimed films like 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and 1976’s All the President’s Men, he’s also sat in the director’s chair for projects such as 1980’s Ordinary People, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director. Of course, he also famously founded the Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival.
The Old Man & The Gun hits theaters on September 28th through Fox Searchlight. Along with Redford (who also co-produced the film), the cast boasts Sissy Spacey, Danny Glover, Casey Affleck, and Tom Waits. Revisit a trailer below.