Last August, with his announcement that his upcoming film The Old Man And The Gun would be his last, Robert Redford began his journey into the cinematic sunset…only to immediately turn his horse right back around this week.
While Redford has been threatening retirement for years, the 82-year-old actor seemed to have made it official last month with an announcement at an early screening of the film. “I really do feel that it’s time for me to move into retirement,” he had said. “I’ve been doing this since I was 21. I’ve put my soul and heart into it over the years. I thought, ‘That’s enough. Why don’t you quit while you’re a little bit ahead? Don’t wait for the bell to toll. Just get out.’”
But at the New York premiere of The Old Man And The Gun on Thursday night—just a few weeks after that speech—Redford seemed to have had a change of heart (about making his exit quite so formal, at least). “That was a mistake,” he said when asked about the announcement. “I should never have said that. If I’m going to retire,” he explained, “I should just slip quietly away from acting. But I shouldn’t be talking about it, because I think it draws too much attention in the wrong way. I want to be focused on this film and the cast.”
When asked again if this really would be his last film, the actor said with a laugh, “I’m not answering that. Keep the mystery alive.”
The Old Man And The Gun recreates the true story of the legendary, happy-go-lucky bank robber Forrest Turner, who robbed 17 banks, was arrested 17 times, and escaped 17 times, showing a dogged inability to quit not unlike Redford’s own. “I couldn’t think of a better project to go out on than this film,” Past-Redford said last month, pointing to its dramatic contrast with his recent, more somber Our Souls At Night.
Regardless of whether he’s really ready to call it quits or not, Redford said he’s still optimistic about the future of Hollywood, calling the #MeToo movement the biggest change he has witnessed in his 60-year Hollywood career. “Women now have a voice that’s going to be heard, and they’re going to raise it louder and louder, I hope, because they’ve been pushed aside for so long. I’m very happy to see what’s going to be happening with women, in terms of leadership roles, executive roles, acting roles,” Redford said. “It’s time.”
The Old Man And The Gun hits theaters next Friday, September 28.