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Robert Redford’s Getting Out of the Acting Game After Two More Roles

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Matt Klitscher

You gotta respect Robert Redford’s style. He’s not one of those interminable wafflers like Quentin Tarantino or Michael Jordan, constantly announcing and then un-announcing retirement every few years to shore up relevancy when necessary. Robert Redford says he’s gonna do a job, he does the job. He says he’s gonna finish up the two acting gigs he’s already taken and then shift to full-time direction, you can be sure he’s not gonna pop up in a couple years with a “gotcha!” and news of a new role.

Redford was conducting a sweet little interview with his grandson Dylan for the Walker Art Center (where Redford has agreed to give a talk on November 12) when he dropped the news that he’d soon tie a ribbon on a decades-spanning career as an actor.

“I’ve got two acting projects in the works,” Redford said. “Once they’re done, then I’m going to say, ‘Okay, that’s goodbye to all that,’ and then just focus on directing.” The part of his quote referring to two remaining performances, by the way, alludes to Our Souls at Night (“a love story for older people who get a second chance in life” costarring Jane Fonda) and Old Man With a Gun (“a lighter piece with Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek”).

Sad as this may be to hear, we can take solace in two things. For one, Robert Redford is a pretty strong director, and if he’s got another Ordinary People in him waiting to get out, all power to him. And number two, it’s nice to watch an actor excuse himself from the profession without first sliding into mediocrity. Even in his advanced age, Redford has continued to turn in excellent performances, from his soft-edged turn in this summer’s Pete’s Dragon to his one-man survival show in 2013’s All Is Lost. To see Redford go out on his own terms, not too far from the top of his game — it’s a fitting conclusion to an illustrious career as an actor.

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