After nearly six decades of work on the screen, the legendary Robert Redford is ready to give up acting.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly to promote his upcoming film The Old Man & The Gun, Redford confirmed that unless something changes in the future, it will be his final film role, ending one of the great onscreen careers in Hollywood history.
“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 said. "I thought, Well, that’s enough. And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive?"
After starting his acting career on the stage in the 1950s, Redford began appearing in film and TV roles in 1960, and rose to stardom throughout the '60s. After acclaimed early work in Inside Daisy Clover, The Chase, and Barefoot in the Park, he landed one of the title roles in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, alongside Paul Newman, and there was no going back.
Numerous now-classic films followed, including Jeremiah Johnson, The Sting, The Way We Were, Three Days of the Condor, and All the President's Men, cementing Redford as one of the great movie stars of the 1970s. By the 1980s he had used that success to transition into directing, and won his only competitive Oscar in 1980 for his directorial debut Ordinary People. He also became a producer and a champion for independent film, founding the Sundance Institute and eventually becoming the chairman of the Sundance Film Festival, which remains the best known and largest film festival held annually in the United States.
Though he didn't devote much of his career to genre fare, sticking mostly to more realistic films, Redford is known to genre fans for his appearance in the 1962 Twilight Zone episode "Nothing in the Dark," as well as later work including voicing Ike the Horse in Charlotte's Web, co-starring as Mr. Meachum in Disney's live-action version of Pete's Dragon, and of course for his role as Alexander Pierce in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a film partially inspired by the political thrillers of the 1970s that Redford helped to popularize.
Beyond his genre contributions, though, Redford is just a star. Even if you focus on a certain kind of film as a fan, you can't help but see his influence and impact on the whole of cinema. It's sad to think we might never see him act again after this year, but the career he did have over the past 58 years was a stellar one, and even if he's done with acting, Redford did say "we'll see" when asked if he'd consider future directing projects.
The Old Man & The Gun will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival next month, and will hit theaters Sept. 28.