Robert Redford (All is Lost)
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"In Hollywood they believe I’m retired. Even my agents think so. But, truly, I can’t wait to get back in front of a camera. I miss acting". That’s what Robert Redford told us a couple of years ago, on the set of The Company You Keep, the film on the Weather Underground he directed in 2012. Well, agents or not, he has now made good on that wish and we’re all lucky for it. Despite being famous and successful for as many as five decades, Redford is still driven by an abiding love of movies. It's the drive that pushed him to create the Sundance Film Festival, the festival that has become the recognized vital center of American independent cinema, and the passion that led him, at 71, to accept a grueling role in a relatively unknown young director’s project. For his portrayal of a shipwrecked solo sailor in All Is Lost, a largely silent movie in which he is the only character, he is now nominated for a Golden Globe for best acting.
"Many of the films today deal with superheroes" he says, "and that's fine. That's good for the business but what interests me are more realistic things, and this character was a good sailor but he was not an expert sailor so that meant that when things got really bad, he had not experienced that before and he had to figure out what to do."
That probably also applies to some extent to the veteran actor that had to bring that character alive, but Redford apparently thrives on just such challenges. He is an actor and director who grew up surfing in Santa Monica , CA, before studying art, traveling in Europe and starting his career in television. After starring in unforgettable films like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the Sting and Three Days of the Condor, Redford ultimately become the most popular Hollywood leading man of his generation. He also became an icon of “Liberal Hollywood” owing to his lifelong commitment to environmental causes, and later, as a mentor to independent filmmakers, a counterbalance to Hollywood commercialism.
Through it all he has built a career devoted to pursuing his great loves: cinema, the environment and skiing. Redford has been married twice and has two sons and a daughter from his first marriage. He has four grandchildren, all of whom appear to share his love of sport and athleticism. His fitness is clear to see in All Is Lost , where he spends much of the time in the water, very calmly trying to survive. "I’ve been in situations in my life where survival came into the picture. I think at a certain point when things get really tough, you have a choice. You can either panic, scream and collapse or you can go into a Zen mode, where you say, ‘okay, things are really, really hard and the only way to get through this is for me to collect myself and go to as calm a place as I can to get through it.’."
That may be the secret to the life and labor of one of Hollywood’s true originals. As an actor and later a director, Robert Redford has been dedicated to the emotional truths of his characters in films like Ordinary People and A River Runs Through It. He has also been devoted to chronicling crucial moments in the American experience in such movies as The Candidate All The President’s Men, The Conspirator and The Company You Keep. All Is Lost is perhaps his most intimate and introspective film to date a testament to a life devoted to storytelling.