After a career of more than 60 years, wherein he became one of Hollywood’s most iconic leading men, actor Robert Redford has finally announced his plans to retire. After starring in the upcoming The Old Man & The Gun from director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), the 81-year-old Redford says he feels he’s done everything he set out to do.
“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,” said Redford in an interview with EW. “I thought, Well, that’s enough. And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive?”
The Old Man & The Gun, which Redford also produced, co-stars Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits and Casey Affleck, and tells the story of Forrest Tucker, a real-life career criminal and celebrated “gentleman bank robber” who can’t quite let go of his favorite hobby, despite his advancing years. The film releases via Fox Searchlight on Sept. 28.
“To me, that was a wonderful character to play at this point in my life,” Redford said. “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?”
As for the breadth of his career, Redford’s plaudits are almost too numerous to list. He starred in classics in a variety of genres, including the likes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Jeremiah Johnson and All the President’s Men alongside Dustin Hoffman. Redford was also equally skilled as a director, winning the Best Director Oscar for his debut, Ordinary People in 1980, which also won Best Picture in the same year. In recent years he experienced yet another career revival, starring in films both critically acclaimed (All is Lost) and blockbuster-worthy (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Along the way, he managed to found the Sundance Film Festival, making an indelible mark in the way that films are presented in the U.S., while also being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2016.
Hollywood has produced few stars of Redford’s caliber who have gone on to have careers that were so long, so eclectic, and so successful in every facet. We wish him the best in retirement. Here’s hoping that The Old Man & The Gun lives up to expectations.