Sure he’s been performing down there on that giant stage in Park City for who knows how long, but filmwise we haven’t seen much of Robert Redford in recent years; and that, my friends, is a fucking shame. It’s not because the star of such gems as “The Sting”, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “The Candidate” and “All the President’s Men” isn’t employable, he most definitely is, it’s more a case of Redford being so inundated with other aspects of his life – be it the Sundance Film Festival or his teaching, something he’s always juggled acting with – that he just can’t afford to jump at every opportunity that comes his way. And maybe that’s a good thing… we’d be seeing Bob wasted in more “Havana”‘s and “Legal Eagles” types. While I’ll admit that some of Redford’s more recent performances, be it the charming billionaire at the center of “Indecent Proposal” or the wise teach in “Lions for Lambs”, aren’t exactly worth typing in bold.. and if only because there wasn’t enough meat for a man to chew on there, it’s still good to see the bloke when he does make a rare appearance behind the curtain (and there were some good ones in there – “Up Close and Personal” was a sweet movie, “The Horse Whisperer” is a terrific couple of hours, and “Sneakers” is – for lack of a better word – ‘rad’).
Following his most recent film as director (something else that’s been distracting him from acting) “The Conspirator” (which, I must say, I liked but didn’t love – it felt a bit lightweight, Bob), Redford’s seemingly discovered his hunger for acting. It was recently announced that the multi-skilled thesp was trying to get the long-gestating feature film version of “A Walk in the Woods” (based on Bill Bryson’s memoir) up, despite the fact it was long-planned as a two-hander for Bob and old mate, the late Paul Newman, and that’s exciting, but even more so is the new film that Redford will direct and star in opposite “Transformers” and “Wall Street 2” pin-up Shia LaBeouf.
This press release couldn’t have put a bigger smile on my face :
Los Angeles, CA. (July 19, 2011) – Voltage Pictures and Wildwood Enterprises have cast Shia LaBeouf and Robert Redford in the political action thriller, “The Company You Keep.” The announcement was made today by Voltage Pictures and Wildwood Enterprises.
Redford will direct from a script by Lem Dobbs (“Haywire,” “The Limey,” “Dark City”), based on the novel by Neil Gordon. “The Company You Keep” chronicles the story of a former Weather Underground militant wanted by the FBI for 30 years, who must go on the run when his true identity is exposed by a young, ambitious reporter hell-bent on making a name for himself. Redford plays the former radical at the center of this nationwide manhunt and LaBeouf, the determined journalist doggedly chasing him and his story. Producers are Robert Redford, Bill Holderman and Nicolas Chartier. Craig J. Flores is the Executive Producer.
“This is an edge-of-your-seat thriller about real Americans who stood for their beliefs, thinking they were patriots and defending their country’s ideals against their government.” said Voltage producer Nicolas Chartier. “It is absolutely amazing to have Shia LaBeouf, arguably the brightest young star in Hollywood today paired with the global icon Robert Redford.”
Redford’s Wildwood Enterprises originally acquired the novel and developed the screenplay with Voltage Pictures, who is actively selling the picture internationally. The picture is currently in pre-production and is set to film in Vancouver in September.
LaBeouf recently starred in the box office sensation Transformers: Dark of the Moon, reprising his role in the Michael Bay series of action films based on the popular Hasbro brand. He recently starred in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and can be seen in the upcoming drama The Wettest County in the World, directed by John Hillcoat and written by Nick Cave.
Redford and LaBeouf are both represented by CAA.
And for no other reason other than it united two of my ’80s faves, Redford and Debra Winger, here’s a little Love Touch from “Legal Eagles” :