photo: MGM Studios Inc.
Robert Redford has been a tour de force on the big screen for more than four decades.
From Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid to his latest film Lions for Lambs this actor, director and producer rarely disappoints.
In fact, in Lions for Lambs, a movie in which Redford directs and also stars, he showcases some of his best work in years. Redford tackles war and politics here and, as ever, he is not afraid to speak his mind.
The Northern California resident took some time out for a conversation with yours truly about movies, politics and personal regrets.
p.s. And yes he is cooler than cool. ROBERT BLOODY REDFORD! It was a thrill and a half to meet him!
7 Questions with Hollywood Great Robert Redford
Liam: Mr. Robert Redford. Welcome to San Francisco. There is much love for you here.
Robert Redford: Thank you. I love it here—so much so it’s home.
RR: Yes it is. And now the secret is out.
1. Why was Lions for Lambs an important film for you to make?
RR: For me it was about examining my own life, what I have experienced. And looking at these past six years as to how it relates to that. In my life I have never known our country to be so trashed on so many levels. Our reputation on the world stage, which was very strong, especially after 9/11. However, our economic position through education and health care, you can go through the line, pick any category. It’s now become so transparent, we have been so damaged by this particular group of leaders. So, this film had to be made.
2. So, what is San Francisco and the Bay Area to you?
RR: It’s a little piece of heaven—a little island of absolute heaven—it makes no sense in terms of how cars go, and that’s what makes it charming. The fact that it has access to so many different things, the fact that it’s trying so hard to be New York.
LM: Ha, not at all…what are you talking about?
RR: And not quite, and not quite making it. I love, I love it. No, I, I feel I’m a native Californian, and I feel more close to Northern California than Southern.
3. Is there a film perhaps you wished you had made but never did?
RR: Studs Lonigan.
LM: Why so?
RR: Because I could identify with the character. James Carol’s character in terms of my own family history. It was a character I wanted to play as a young actor cause I knew I could and Hollywood made the film. It didn’t work, and it made me sad. That was the only regret I’ve had.
4. Your guilty pleasure—is there one?
RR: There are multiple pleasures. I think it would take too much time.
5. If you were president tomorrow and you were in the office running things, three things you would change or the first three things you would do in office?
RR: Well the first thing I would do would be to resign.
RR: In the interest of my country, uh in place of the person who didn’t who should…um second thing I would go along with the idea of a strike in the off-election year like this November 4, whatever, a national strike where no one did anything but just stay still. They didn’t shop, they didn’t drive, they didn’t buy gas, they didn’t turn on the TV, they just stopped and spent the whole day just not doing anything and see what happened to the country, of course there are emergencies. There are health emergencies and so on. But just stop. Things are going so fast, and they’re being shoved so fast down our throats and past us, you worry about what people are able to take in. Also, you wonder what would happen to this country if some of the mechanisms that are rolling were to stop, what signal that would send to the government about what they shouldn’t be doing versus what they should be doing.
LM: I’ll sign up for that, the last two quickly.
6. Describe your perfect Sunday?
RR: Perfect Sunday is to me not thinking about Sunday because it has biblical and religious connotations I’d rather think of it as a free day. So I treat it like Monday.
7. And finally film making to you is…?
RR: Is just an extension of an art form of personal expression using moving images, story telling using moving images.
Mr. Robert Redford, an absolute joy. I hope your film Lions for Lambs gets many bums on seats at theatres. It’s been a joy.
RR: Thank you very much.
LM: Thank you, cheers