Sunteți pe pagina 1din 21

A Conversation with Robert Redford

TOM PUTNAM: Good evening. I'm Tom Putnam, Director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and
Museum, and on behalf of Heather Campion, CEO of the Kennedy Library Foundation, and all of my
Library and Foundation colleagues, I thank you for coming and acknowledge the generous underwriters
who make these wonderful Forums possible: lead sponsor Bank of America, represented here tonight by
Anne Finucane; Raytheon, represented by Pam Erickson; the Lowell Institute, represented by Bill and
Angela Lowell; the Boston Foundation, represented by Mary Jo Meisner; and our media partners, Xfinity,
Viacom, The Boston Globe, and WBUR, represented by Charlie Kravetz.
Now, historians often point to the first televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard
M. Nixon as a turning point not only in the 1960 presidential election, but in the manner in which our
national campaigns are waged. And as we watch silent images from that iconic evening, I'm reminded of
a visit I made a few years ago to the Nixon Library before it became part of the National Archives and the
Presidential Library System. The curators could not avoid Nixon's loss in 1960 in telling their story and the
text panel related to this debate read, derisively, that "The fact that the majority of Americans who
watched that night thought Kennedy won, simply proved how, in the televised era, style trumps
substance." [laughter] Now, with history as our guide, I would gladly put the substantive contributions of
John F. Kennedy and the legacy of his words and action against those of Richard Nixon, whose misdeeds
indelibly, and perhaps irrevocably, undermined the nation's confidence in itself and its leaders.
Now, it's perhaps because I'm a political junkie that my two favorite Robert Redford films came out of this
era. Filmed in 1972, as President Nixon was running for reelection, The Candidate explores in nuanced
and satirical ways the role of style and substance, idealism and good looks, independent thinking and
poll-driven promises in political campaigns. Let's watch an excerpt from the debate scene with Bill McKay,
in what Vincent Canby described at the time as Robert Redford's best performance of his thenburgeoning career, as the fictional son of a former governor of California who agrees to run against the
seemingly unbeatable incumbent, in part because he's assured by party leaders that he doesn't have a
chance to win.
The clip begins with the incumbent Senator, Crocker Jarman, who sounds like Ronald Reagan but looks
like Warren G. Harding. [laughter]
Crocker Jarman: Because I believe in America. I believe that our greatest moment is yet to come. Thank
you.
Moderator: Mr. McKay, you now have one minute to sum up.
[silence]
Moderator: Mr. McKay?
Bill McKay: In the begin I think it's important to note what subjects we haven't discussed. We
completely ignored the fact that this is a society divided by fear, hatred and violence. And until we talk
about just what this society really is, then I don't know how we're going to change it. For example, we
haven't discussed the rot that destroys our cities. We have all the resources we need to check it and we

don't use them. And we haven't discussed why not. We haven't discussed race in this country. We haven't
discussed poverty. In short, we haven't discussed any of the sicknesses that may yet send this country up
in flames. And we better do it. We better get it out in the open and confront it. Before it's too late.
[simultaneous conversation]
Crocker Jarman: I never dreamed that my opponent would stoop to encouraging violence.
Bill McKay: I beg your pardon, Senator?
Crocker Jarman: I very seriously doubt that any man who could do that is capable
Bill McKay: That's not what I said.
Moderator: Gentlemen.[simultaneous conversation] This has been the Jarman/McKay debate that you've
been watching tonight.
TOM PUTNAM: Now, Mr. Redford tells the story that to promote that film and to underscore the
vacuousness of our national politics, the producers organized a whistle-stop campaign when the movie
was first released to see if he, as a film idol, could attract larger audiences than the actual presidential
contenders running that year. They would research where Senators Muskie and McGovern were speaking
and organize their own event in the same city on the very same day. Arriving at the depot station where a
large group had gathered, Mr. Redford would then emerge from the back of the train, flash the V-forvictory sign, and proceed to tell the crowd, "I have absolutely nothing to say." [laughter]
Now, the most famous quote from the movie The Candidate comes from the final scene in which Bill
McKay learns on election night that he's pulled off the unthinkable and must transition now from erstwhile
candidate to United States Senator. As he faces crowds of jubilant supporters and querulous journalists,
McKay asks a trusted advisor, "What do we do now?"
One imagines this is a question that Robert Redford asked himself many years ago after becoming one of
our nation's most successful and recognized actors with films such as Barefoot in the Park, Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, and The Way We Were. In a recent interview, in fact with
Maureen Dowd, he noted that the constant references early in his career to his looks made him feel as if
he were in a cage. Yet, through his substantive work and steadfast advocacy of the issues he cares about
the environment, Native American rights, LGBT issues and the arts he sprung loose from those
preconceptions and proven himself to be far more than a versatile and good-looking actor.
He's been honored by the Kennedy Center and with an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement for his
work as an actor, director, producer, and as the founder of the Sundance Film Festival, where he's
created a platform that allows other artists to take risks and has helped to foster the freedom of artistic
expression.
Undermining all of his work is his thoughtful understanding of this country and its people, exemplified for
me by his work as actor and producer in my second-favorite Redford film, All the Presidents Men, which
perhaps more than any other medium helped the nation understand the Watergate scandal, emphasizing

the strengths and vulnerabilities of our political system, and the key role journalists play in our national life
as, in Mr. Redford's words, our one avenue to the truth.
Mr. Redford, you honor us here today with your presence, which allows us to thank you and pay tribute to
your work and the causes you have championed. [applause]
Speaking of the key role of the press, no one fulfills those responsibilities more brilliantly than our
moderator Maureen Dowd, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times. Ms. Dowd
recently wrote a fascinating portrait of Robert Redford, featured in the Times art section on the release of
his film, All is Lost.
It's a credit, one supposes, to Mr. Redford's courage to agree to these interviews with Ms. Dowd, who's
been described as the flame-haired flamethrower [laughter], whose most recent book is titled, Are Men
Necessary? [laughter] And whose columns can at times be eviscerating. She once described Al Gore as
being so feminized and ecologically correct that he was "practically lactating." [laughter]
I can think of no two individuals who, in their respective professions, better personify the blending of
substance with style. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Maureen Dowd and Robert
Redford to the Kennedy Library. [applause]
ROBERT REDFORD: He didn't mention that Mike Barnicle was in my film.
MAUREEN DOWD: Oh, yeah. Barnicle's going to ask a question about that later, how good he was.
ROBERT REDFORD: That was the end of his film career. [laughter]
MAUREEN DOWD: We should have had a clip with you, Mike. Can you guys hear me? Okay, let's get to
it.
Mr. Redford, as your favorite poet Yeats says, the center isn't holding, the world is falling apart. So I
wanted to start with a serious question about global affairs. You said when you were a starving art student
in France, the girls you met did not find you attractive. You said you got kicked in the teeth by Paris,
because you knew nothing about the Suez Canal and American politics. Still, you were wearing a black
beret and a stripy French sailor tee shirt, so what was wrong with French girls? [laughter]
ROBERT REDFORD: Well, I think they obviously saw through my outfit. [laughter] That was a pretty
embarrassing time.
MAUREEN DOWD: You said that was the hardest time of your life, right? Not about the girls, but about
ROBERT REDFORD: No, this is the hardest time of my life. [laughter] No, it was a tough time, but it was
a time I was looking forward to having. I wanted to have a hard time at that point in my life. I felt that's how
I was going to learn.
MAUREEN DOWD: You were a bohemian starving artist.
ROBERT REDFORD: Not quite. Close, but not completely.

MAUREEN DOWD: I'm curious, have you ever seen The Candidatebecause I know that you don't watch
a lot of your movies.
ROBERT REDFORD: That's true. I haven't seen it since it came out, no.
MAUREEN DOWD: Because a couple of Christmases ago, your grandson wanted to see The Sting and
that was the first time you ever saw it?
ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah. I can't explain why this is, but I've just never been comfortable First of all,
I'm not comfortable seeing myself on film, so I just made it a practice some time ago just not to. Once you
finish a film, you move on and don't linger around it, don't celebrate it too much. If somebody else wants
to celebrate it, that's great. But you should move on and not get stuck in any one spot along the road. As
a result, there are a lot of films that I just didn't see. And it's hard to explain, but that's the way it is.
So my grandson, we were at our house in Utah at Sundance. It was Christmastime and my daughter -his mother -- said, "Dad, why don't you go down and get some movies. Get an old movie." [laughter] So I
said okay. We went down and there were two categories; there were regular films and old films. So we're
going through it and I see thatThe Sting is in old films. I was like, wow, that's interesting. I said, "I guess
you've seen that one." And he said no. I said, "You haven't? You've never seen that film," and he says,
"No, you have." And I said, "No, I haven't either." [laughter] So we took it and we went home and watched
it, and I thought it was a really good film. [laughter/applause]
MAUREEN DOWD: In The Candidate, you played a handsome, charismatic young man who jumped into
a political race at a high level and then realized he was in over his head, famously asking at the end,
"What do we do now?" Does that remind you of anyone? Anyone maybe in the Oval Office? [laughter]
ROBERT REDFORD: There's a lot to choose from. Let me tell you a story, if you have a minute
MAUREEN DOWD: Sure. [laughter]
ROBERT REDFORD: about how that came about, because it's sort of an interesting story. When I'd
made that film, it was a very low budget film. The studio, nobody was interested in it because they felt that
politics was not box office and all that. But I really wanted to make this film, so they said, "If you do a
larger film for us, we'll let you make the smaller film as long as it's for a low budget." That was 1970 and
the point that I wanted to make from how I could see things at that point, was that we were no longer -- if
we ever were -- we were no longer electing people in terms of substance, but cosmetics; how they looked
as opposed to I think Dan Quayle was the issue at that time. So it was how somebody looked or how
they appeared to be, rather than who they really were or what they really stood for. So I wanted to make
kind of a dark, humorous film, sort of cynical, that cosmetics was overpowering substance and that I
would be the character; I would sacrifice myself to that character as somebody really not qualified, but
because of the way I looked, the handlers felt that they could propel me to the top.
When I was working on the project, on the script, the only thing I knew is how the film should end. I didn't
know how we were going to lead up to it, other than the fact that I was an unqualified person and that it
should end with a question, which is, "What do we do now," meaning I'm totally, completely unprepared
for the office I just won. And I decided then, I think, that it was meant to be a trilogy of three films
athletic, politics and business. Downhill Racer was the sports one and Candidate was the political one. I

never got to the business one. But I wanted to end it with a question how did we get to this place? What
kind of a pyrrhic It's a pyrrhic victory. How did this happen?
Now, when I was promoting the film, we went on this whistle-stop, as he was saying, went on this whistlestop train ride that The Candidates would take every four years. That year it was Muskie and Scoop
Jackson and Lindsay. They were all making this whistle-stop train ride. So this guy who was sort of a
prankster, Dick Tuck, had this idea, "Why don't you duplicate what they did to make a point of your film,
that you're really not qualified and you'll get at the end of this train, see if you can outdraw them, see if
you can draw more people than they did and that you stand for nothing." I said that sounds like a great
idea. So as we started to do it, I would go out and there'd maybe be 2000, 2500 people there, and I'd
have stats that would say, "Hello, everybody, Muskie came, 250 people; Scoop Jackson, 50. It looks to
me like there are thousands here today. I just want to thank you and tell you that I have absolutely nothing
to say." [laughter] So that was the point we were trying to make with the film.
After a couple of those stops, I started to feel horrible. I just didn't feel good doing this. And in between,
there was entertainment press and political press. The political press was gossiping about the break-in at
Larry O'Brien's headquarters that had just been two weeks earlier. And I said, "Oh, hey, what happened
with that? Were those burglars? Were those guys Cuban burglars? What was going on?" That kind of
went up and went away real fast. And they had this kind of attitude between them that suggested there
was a lot more to it than anybody knew, or certainly that I knew. I could pick up the vibe and I said, "Wait a
minute, what's going on?" They said, "No, it's not burglars. It's not that." And the implication was that it
went to the White House, but that was implied; it was not said.
I said, "Wait a minute, you mean you think there's more to it? What are you guys doing?" And I kind of
said, "Why are you watching me make a fool out of myself here? Why don't you work on that?" And they
said, "You don't understand how it works. First of all, you have to have a long time to get a story like that.
You have to have support of the publisher to get a story like that. It costs money, it costs time, and
secondly, Nixon's going to win in a landslide and nobody wants to be on the wrong side of this guy when
he comes in because he's got a switchblade mentality. And he has a team behind him that nobody wants
to mess with. He will be vindictive, so nobody wants to go in the wrong way. Secondly, no one's going to
be paying attention because the only thing they're going to be interested in is whether Hank Aaron's going
to break Babe Ruth's home run record."
I kind of got depressed by that. And I thought, Well, that's really sad if that's true. So then what
happened was I assumed they were going to be right and then suddenly these little blurbs started to
appear, and they were Woodward and Bernstein. It was a dual byline. I said, Wow, somebody's going
something. To make a long story short, it turned out that they were at that point just about the only people
doing something. And they went very high, and then it was proven that they had made a big mistake.
When I read the article about the mistake they had made in the profile of the two guys, I said, Wow, one
guy's a Jew, the other guy's a WASP. One guy's a Republican, the other guy's a liberal. One guy's a good
writer, the other guy's not so good. They don't really like each other, but they have to work together. Well,
that's interesting, I would like to make that movie about how they work together with those differences?
I don't think the film should be interested in where it's going to go, because history will take care of that.
Nixon does not interest me. He was my governor when I was a kid in California. I knew enough about him
not to care much about him.

MAUREEN DOWD: He gave you a sports award, right?


ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah, he did. So I had a very negative impression of him based on him presenting
me with an award. [laughter]
MAUREEN DOWD: What was that?
ROBERT REDFORD: I was about 13. It was a time called Boys Week. They had a celebration of about
four years of Boys Week and they gave honors. This was in Santa Monica, California. He was the
governor of California, or the Senator from California. Earl Warren was the governor. I didn't know who
anybody was. I didn't know who he was. I didn't know who any politician was. I didn't care. I just wanted to
get my ribbon. So you would march across the stage along with other kids, and they'd hand out the
ribbons. When I went up and Nixon handed me the ribbon and shook my hand, I got just a bad vibe.
[laughter] But that's all; I didn't know anything more than to say, Ooh. And that stuck with me.
MAUREEN DOWD: That's so funny. It's kind of the opposite of Bill Clinton and JFK in Boys Nation, where
it was a good vibe.
Well, when we talked about this, you said that you were no longer as interested in Like, you dug into
that and shaped it and that you were no longer as interested in sparking off current events like that
because you couldn't match reality, that it's so crazy now that you didn't think
ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah, I think so. When we made The Candidate, I felt there was still some space
that you could fill in about things people didn't know behind the scenes. Now everybody knows
everything; there's really nothing to say that hasn't been said or isn't being said on a daily basis by
multiple voices out there. No, I don't see any point.
MAUREEN DOWD: Either they know everything or they know nothing; I haven't decided which. When we
talked last year, you said you felt sad about being disappointed in President Obama, because he's a very
good person with a fine mind and can speak beautifully. But you said he was in over his head. America
was so excited six years ago. What do you think happened?
ROBERT REDFORD: Well, this is speculation from an amateur, because I do think he's a good man and I
think he's got a good mind. I think he stepped into a role that he was going to end up being over his head
in terms of how the world works in Washington, how the Beltway works. If you don't know how it works,
then you're probably going to run into some trouble.
I remember when I was doing the film, I was talking to the editors of the Washington Post and one of the
editors said, "One thing you've got to learn about Washington is it's not about the why, it's about the how."
That stuck with me.
And when he came in, I think he was very much going to be about the reason behind things and so forth.
Once he ran into the stalemate that he ran into -- and I felt at that time that the dual-party system was
such a disaster because they were not working together -- and that one side, as it was clearly expressed
by Mitch McConnell, which I was stunned that there could be a leader in any country, in any state in this
country that could say something like this, but he said, "As Minority Leader, I think my whole job is to
make sure that this man does not succeed at anything." I thought, Wow, have we come to that? Who is

this guy, McConnell? Who is he representing? What kind of America does he represent? But I didn't
dream that he would be so accurate about it, that Obama would come up against such a wall of
resistance to just about everything he did. So it really made me sad about my country and the political
system that's supposed to be representing our interests and yet they were so self-interested. I got
depressed about that. Then I felt sad about a man -- who probably had good intentions -- that got into a
situation where he was over his head and nothing was going to work. No matter how he tried, it just
wasn't going to work. It took him a long time to figure that out -- took him too long to figure that out. In the
meantime, I think we as a country suffered.
MAUREEN DOWD: In your 2007 movie, Lions for Lambs, you took aim at the US's haphazard, haywire
prosecution of the wars in the Middle East. When you watched President Obama last week make the
argument for a preemptive strike in Iraq against ISIS/ISIL/IS, or whatever they're called, do you think
there's been a sufficient debate in the country about whether they're a threat and whether we should take
military action against them?
ROBERT REDFORD: I don't know. I don't probably know enough about that situation. I think the damage
started during the prior administration getting into a war we shouldn't have gone into. I think a decision to
go there was made by people that were not qualified to make those decisions. And look what it did? It put
us into a hole that's really hard to come out of. I don't know if anybody could come out of it. So there's
that. He inherited a pretty rotten deal, with a lot of cost that makes me just sad. I don't know that anybody
could have fully survived that without having to work their way up and through. And in the meantime, he
comes against a Congress that won't work with him.
I'll tell you one thing that made me sad. Recently, I was asked by Discovery Channel, "Would you do a
Watergate Revisited?" My first thought was, no, that's done, that was at that time. That's a moment in time
that's gone. Maybe look at it like a museum piece, because I don't think that condition exists anymore. I'd
rather not go there. So I said no, and they were pushing and pushing and finally I thought, Wait a minute,
maybe it's worth doing if you do a revisit of that time. Because there's all this archival footage of Nixon in
the Oval Office with the tapes. There's all that archival footage of the committee, the investigating
committee, John Dean, all those guys. I thought, Well, maybe if you make this, it will allow the public to
look back and see how things were at that time and how they are now, and they can make their own
comparison.
So we did and we got all this great footage, and there's this moment when John Dean was testifying
before this committee that was very bipartisan. You had Baker, who was from Tennessee, who was a
Senator. You and Sam Ervin, who was the head of the thing, a Democrat. You had Republicans and
Democrats. And I looked at it and said, Wow, look at this. You have both sides of the aisle on a
committee working together to get to the truth. And I saw that and I said, So it did happen once. There
was a time when Congress played the role it was supposed to play for our benefit. And look what's
happened.
MAUREEN DOWD: In this, Bill McKay of The Candidate would be a heavyweight in this climate. You call
the Ted Cruz wing of the Republican Party "Looney Tunes without the Merrie Melodies [laughter], easing
themselves over a cliff while totally believing in what they're doing." Marco Rubio and other Republicans
have gone from saying they don't believe in climate change to their new mantra, saying, "Well, I'm not a
scientist. The scientists need to figure that out." Is this sort of cop-out sustainable?

ROBERT REDFORD: I think Rubio should probably get a seaside cottage. [laughter] He should live what
is going on. Look, I don't want to argue with people that don't get it. There's no point, they just don't get it.
Or they don't want to get it. So you have to let those people just sort of talk themselves into a hole and
maybe at some point will see that it's a hole.
MAUREEN DOWD: If the Republicans take the Senate, which is looking more likely, Mitch McConnell,
your friend, has a good chance of being the Majority Leader. His whole campaign is being run on
defending the coal industry from what he calls the Obama war on coal. What does that mean for climate
change?
ROBERT REDFORD: Well, it doesn't bode well for climate change. I have issues with McConnell on a
number of fronts, but I would not go into a Senator's state and argue on issues that belong to the state.
That's a coal state and he represents coal. So in a way you can say that Mitch McConnell is representing
the interests of that state. It may be interests that I don't agree with because I think that global warming is
on us, and I think we have to take a different approach. But I wouldn't go there, because that is not my
business. But the way he treats people, the way he's behaved on other fronts is my business, and that I
think is a good reason that he should not be there.
MAUREEN DOWD: The Times had a story on the Administration giving up on the idea of getting a global
climate change treaty through Congress, that they're now trying to sidestep that by using a loophole on a
'92 treaty to compel nations to cut their fossil fuel emissions. Is that the way to go, do you think?
ROBERT REDFORD: Cut their fuel emissions?
MAUREEN DOWD: That they're going to try and administratively deal with it. They've kind of given up
on
ROBERT REDFORD: I don't know. I think if you wait for the Administration, if you wait for government
action, it may be kind of late.
MAUREEN DOWD: The chairman of Nestle Corporation, Peter Brabeck, said recently that drought and
water scarcity is more urgent than global warming. It's like the world has turned into Chinatownwith scary
scenarios of a world without water, and droughts, and green goo in the water in Ohio, and drying aquifers
that are hurting places all over the world. Why is it so hard to break through on climate change, even after
events like Hurricane Sandy where people are not going to believe it until their own home is under water
or until the water is gone?
ROBERT REDFORD: This is incredible.
MAUREEN DOWD: I know it.
ROBERT REDFORD: You don't need a teleprompter, that's really good. [laughter]
First of all, the idea of drought, obviously I tend to take that a little personally because I grew up in
California. And now the whole western part of the United States is in drought way too long and the
consequences are already being felt. I think they're connected. I think that the drought is connected to
global warming. I think the climate change, the changes that are occurring, are such that there's a lot of

areas being affected that don't quite understand how and why they're being affected, but I do believe that
fundamentally it's tied to change.
And this is a theory, it might be kind of weird, but I remember about five, six years ago do you
remember when they had that incredible tsunami off of Sri Lanka, or someplace like that, that went down
to the core of the earth? Remember that? I remember reading at the time, when there were all these
tsunamis that went out of there and went clear across the world it went into Alaska, it went into South
America waves that came out of that. Because it had gone so deep; it had gone down to the very core
of the earth. And I remember reading at that time that the world was on an axis and we're slightly tilted,
and this thing tilted it slightly more, so we were vibrating. I remember reading that article, Scientific
American or a newspaper, but they said that we had just been moved off the axis by, like, 100th of an inch
or something. But that movement took us off the axis that we had been on for, how long?, and that there
was a slight vibration occurring. That vibration was likely just to continue, and it might be felt or it might
not be felt. I always wondered, because of the earthquakes in Chile and just various things that have
happened over time, I wonder if there was any relationship. I'm just curious.
I don't expect you to answer that. [laughter]
MAUREEN DOWD: Kit Seelye, who is our Boston reporter here, is going to answer that; she's going to
write about it.
Matt Damon did a fracking movie that was a flop, basically, and it was hard for your Iraq movie to break
through. But other movies, likeChina Syndrome and All the Presidents Men and The Candidate, made
serious points while being enormously entertaining. How can you calibrate making a movie with a serious
point while you please the popcorn-eaters?
ROBERT REDFORD: Well, I think I failed at that. I feel that it's the entertainment industry and you're
there to entertain, and that's your chief obligation. But it would be nice if you could also inform at the
same time. I think the public does not want to be lectured. I think the public does not want to go to a
theater and have propaganda spilled on their heads. But I do think you might, if you created a story
because I think story is everything, I think it's all about story in my mind -- that if you tell a good story and
you have humor or you have something that's frightening, whatever, it's entertaining first, but it also
informs it shows something new for people to think about, that's what I like to try to do.
MAUREEN DOWD: All the Presidents Men portrayed what might have been the high point of American
political journalism. What do you think about how journalism has evolved since? Everything seems to be
top ten lists of corgi butts on BuzzFeed and top 29 cats who forgot how to cat. [laughter] When we talked,
you portrayed a lot of the media as barking dogs now. What do you think?
ROBERT REDFORD: Barking dogs. It's just noise. I think people talking over each other, self-interest. It's
all about personality. There's so much personality on news now. You even have the weather saying it's
going to rain [laughter] you say, Geez, what happened to just Chet Huntley and Brinkley and those
guys? They just told you the way it was. Cronkite. But now it has to be acted out so that's kind of
unfortunate.
Then I think there was something that happened. Kay Fanning was somebody that I had met years ago
when she was at the Anchorage Daily News, and she left there to come to Boston to become the head of

the Christian Science Monitor. She and I had become friends when she was in Alaska. A good lady. I did
some fundraising for her. I remember her calling me in 1988 or 89 and she said, "Bob, I just want to let
you know, I'm going to be resigning." I said, "Why? What's going on?" She said, "Well, I'm resigning with
two other editors from the Atlanta Constitution" -- and I think it was Cleveland Plain Dealer, one of those -"because our papers have decided that business first." I didn't know what she meant by that. She said,
They have decided that the papers should be focusing on business first, whatever's going to make most
money and that means certain issues are going to be moved down to the back. And things that were at
the back are going to move up sports, entertainment -- because that attracts attention. It makes more
money. And we don't want to live like that, so we're going to resign in protest." She said, "I don't think it's
going to do any good, but I feel like I can't be what I want to be in this profession anymore because of
that." Then they did. I don't know what happened after that, but I remember that hit me hard because it
seemed to make sense, that economics was going to be overpowering other parts of things.
MAUREEN DOWD: You were thinking of playing another journalist, Dan Rather, in an upcoming film
about his reporting on W and the National Guard service, which was not a great moment in journalism. It
may fall through, but how would that have worked? Would you have dyed your hair black?
ROBERT REDFORD: No, I wouldn't have. [laughter] I'm not sure it's going to happen. If it does happen,
I'm always interested in characters that have a flaw, and I think that the flaw of Dan Rather is really
interesting. I think he, at one time, was on an equal footing with Brokaw and Jennings, and they all kind of
vied for attention at that time. I'm a friend of Tom Brokaw's, so I know a little bit about that.
But I think that there is some resentment about Dan and there were feelings about Dan, and yet Dan was
trying to get the truth out there. He was trying to get it out there and push it out there, and sometimes he
went the wrong way or stumbled. But I was interested in a man who came from the background he came
from, a very poor background in East Texas, and that he strived for something that would put him out
there, wanting to do the right thing in the right way. And how did it go wrong when it went wrong, that's
what interested me. Now, I don't know whether that's because Mary Mapes was his producer, and that's
to be played by Cate Blanchett. I don't know whether we can go down to Australia and make They want
to make it all in Australia. I don't know that that's going to happen.
MAUREEN DOWD: As long as we're on your hair for a second, your director in All is Lost, JC Chandor,
was amazed when you spent two months getting hosed down with water in Mexico in the Titanic tanks
and your hair stayed Redford blond. You said some of your own kids didn't believe it wasn't dyed. You had
to tell them.
ROBERT REDFORD: I have no answer. That's just the way it is. [laughter] Even my kids would say, "Hey,
Dad" what?
MAUREEN DOWD: Can't you bottle it?
ROBERT REDFORD: Bottle it?
MAUREEN DOWD: Yeah.
ROBERT REDFORD: [laughter] I don't know what

MAUREEN DOWD: What did your kids say?


ROBERT REDFORD: My kids said, "Come on, Dad, don't you think it's about time?" [laughter] And I said,
"What are you talking about?" "Stop dying your hair." And I said, "I don't dye my hair!" They said, "Oh,
come on!" [laughter] I couldn't even convince my own kids, and now they're gray and I'm laughing at
them. [laughter]
MAUREEN DOWD: The 2016 campaign has already begun. Gun to your head: Hillary Clinton or
Elizabeth Warren?
ROBERT REDFORD: Elizabeth Warren. [applause]
MAUREEN DOWD: So that kerfuffle about her
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Why?
MAUREEN DOWD: Yeah, why? That's a better question than the one I was going to ask.
ROBERT REDFORD: Is Hillary here? [laughter]
MAUREEN DOWD: No, she's in Iowa.
ROBERT REDFORD: Of course. There's no other reason than that's what I would like to do. I would
prefer her. No reason to go into why. I like her because she's fresh and new and has a certain kind of
strength I like, and so far has not succumbed to the powers of money and things like that. I think Hillary's
great, but I would go with Warren.
MAUREEN DOWD: So the kerfuffle about her Indian ancestry didn't bother you?
ROBERT REDFORD: Her what?
MAUREEN DOWD: There was a little kerfuffle about her Indian ancestry.
ROBERT REDFORD: Indian?
MAUREEN DOWD: Yeah, that she has Indian
ROBERT REDFORD: You mean East Indian or[laughter] I don't know about it.
MAUREEN DOWD: American Indian. All right, I'll tell you later. Are you excited about all the fresh faces
expected for 2016 a Clinton, a Bush and a Romney? [laughter]
ROBERT REDFORD: No.
MAUREEN DOWD: You know a lot about Mormons, actually, from your time in Utah. You were married to
a Mormon.

ROBERT REDFORD: You're really going to go there, huh? [laughter] What do you want to know?
MAUREEN DOWD: I just wondered if you thought that Mitt Romney should run again.
ROBERT REDFORD: No.
MAUREEN DOWD: Do you think that people didn't cotton to Mitt Romney, was his Mormonism a problem
or was it just him?
ROBERT REDFORD: Just him. [laughter/applause]
MAUREEN DOWD: If you could get rid of the Koch Brothers or Fox News, which would you choose?
[laughter]
ROBERT REDFORD: I remember hearing once, do you want to die by fire or poison arrow. Take your
pick.
MAUREEN DOWD: Are you worried about the effect the Koch Brothers will have on the elections, the
coming elections, in terms of climate change?
ROBERT REDFORD: I'm worried about Citizens United. I'm worried about the Supreme Court and how
it's so imbalanced. And I'm worried about how that plays out on us as the public. I think taking money out
of politics would be a very healthy thing. And there they are, with all the money in the world. [applause]
MAUREEN DOWD: You have starred in some amazing sports movies The Natural and Downhill Racer
and you were a jock yourself in high school. With the recent news of the NFL covering up domestic
abuse and steroid use running rampant, Penn State being reinstated after the child abuse scandal, I just
wonder if you think sports has changed in this era and plays a different role in American society.
ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah, I do. I grew up as a child in a lower working class community in Los Angeles.
We were one of the few Anglo families in a Mexican American community. But everything was united
because of the war, because of the Second World War, and my first memory as a child was the end of the
Second World War. So I remember sacrifice -- paper drives and sacrificing and things like that. I
remember enjoying it because we were connected. We were all connected for what we believed was a
good cause.
There was also a lot of propaganda at that time. There was a lot of red-white-and-blue talk about weve
got to do this for the country. I believed it. I believed in the country. I loved my country. So what happened
was when the war ended something weird happened and I couldn't figure out what was going on. And that
was that we were all friends and suddenly we weren't anymore, and there was a split in my community. It
was an ethnic/racial split that I couldn't understand; I was too young. But suddenly my Mexican friends
were over there, we were over here.
It took me maybe 50 years to look back and try to put all that together. But things changed. I think the
thing that got me out of a kind of rough neighborhood was sports. One of the themes that I've tried to
work in films is the subject of winning, that this is a country that's all about winning. And the reason I felt
that was because that's the way I was raised, that winning was everything. And yet, I was told a slogan as

a kid when I was playing baseball: Listen, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, it's how you play the
game. That's what's important, and that was drummed into my head and drummed into my head.
Yet, what I experienced was just the opposite. What I experienced was winning was everything. So I think
that sunk so deep into my psyche that when I became able, years later, to be an artist or to make film, I
wanted to tell the truth about my country that wasn't being told. I wanted to say, Wait a minute, there's a
gray zone where reality sits, where winning is a big deal, and why doesn't somebody just admit it, rather
than pretend it's otherwise. I think that was the core of how it all began.
But for me, baseball and sports was a big part of my life. I wanted to honor that as a filmmaker, and I felt
that Malamud's story, The Natural, was just the best story to make that point with. Ted Williams, I was a
Boston Red Sox fan my whole life. [applause] Ted Williams was my hero, so I wanted to make a film
about how important I thought baseball was, and so I did that.
That was, to me, just an homage to a sport I loved. And it was at a different time. It was a time in the
major leagues. There were no West Coast leagues. You had the Pacific Coast League, but you didn't
have major leagues out on the West Coast; it was all in the East. And it was something you looked at the
paper, you looked atSporting News or something like that to see what was going on. It was very exciting.
Everything's changed now so much. It hardly bears any resemblance to what I experienced as a kid,
what's happened to sports. I think TV is a lot of it. Money, all that, has changed everything so much, it's
not as much fun as it used to be for me.
MAUREEN DOWD: Speaking of things that aren't as much fun, I think this was one of the worst movie
seasons in years. Why is that? Is the appetite for junk overseas and among young kids destroying
Hollywood? And are film festivals like yours the only place guaranteeing that independent movies are
getting made?
ROBERT REDFORD: Hollywood's a business. And that's what it is. It's always been a business. It may
have changed in terms of the leadership, but it's always been a business and it's been made to be a
business.
What's happened now is that with all the changes that have come with the Internet and so forth, so many
changes that have occurred, Hollywood as a place is really just a street, when you get right down to it. It's
really about what's going to make money. So the tent pole films, the franchise films, the James Bonds and
things like that -- which are all good films, I think they're great -- but they focus on that because they're
guaranteed to bring in a certain amount of money.
The other films, which used to be plentiful in the '40s, '50s, '60s, even into the '70s, they don't take
chances anymore because they are not going to bring in enough revenue. So that's left them as outliers.
So that's why I felt that independent films should be supported because they're still good films. But the
business has changed so drastically and it's still changing. I think it's making a lot of people very nervous.
I don't know where it's going to go, but it's changing so drastically, I couldn't tell you where it's going to go.
MAUREEN DOWD: How did Sundance turn out compared to what you envisioned? I'm sure you didn't
envision Paris Hilton coming.

ROBERT REDFORD: No. No, I never envisioned Paris Hilton. [laughter] It started out, the idea was,
when I got taken with the idea of supporting the idea of independent film, we said we'll have a
development lab out at Sundance and new filmmakers who have interesting projects will have a place to
come and develop, so that at least their pictures can get made.
And once we did that for about six years In the beginning, it was tricky. We didn't know whether we'd
survive. And once that survived and the films were getting made, then we realized there was nowhere to
go. The mainstream was not allowing any space for them so they would go on television, and what have
you. That led to the idea of a festival, and I thought, Well, maybe if we have a festival where at least the
filmmakers can come and look at each others' work, we could create a community and the community
might have some life to it if filmmakers could share each others' work and they could talk amongst each
other. And maybe if we have it in an unusual way, other people will come and we can build an audience
out of it.
So the idea of putting it in Park City, Utah, in Mormon country in the middle of winter was kind of weird.
The idea was let's just make it really weird. Put it in the middle of winter and make it hard to get to, and
you can ski and you can look at movies. There was no support for it because people didn't believe it could
work. I remember we just had one theater in Park City, and we had maybe 25 films and maybe 150, 200
people were wandering around outside. And I would be standing outside the theater trying to get people
in. [laughter] Like some guy outside of a strip joint, saying, "Hey, come on in." And people said, "What are
you doing here?" That's how it started. And it was really exciting because I think when you're working up,
it's the climb up, I think, that's really exciting. Those earlier years when we could also promote
documentaries, which were getting no traction in the marketplace, we said we'll create a platform for
documentaries and say we think they're important and push that up, it was an exciting time. And then
when success came, it wasn't as much fun.
MAUREEN DOWD: What's the line you like? It's the trying?
ROBERT REDFORD: T.S. Eliot. It's the trying, the rest is not our business. I just felt that it's exciting when
you're pushing up hill against something and you believed in it, and you had people coming to join you. It
was an exciting time because you were kind of going up hill. Then when things started to click in, and
suddenly they built more and more theaters, and more and more people came, suddenly there's 80,000
people there for ten days, it's great for the festival; I'm very happy for the festival. It just isn't as much fun
as it was in the beginning.
MAUREEN DOWD: I never realized until I was reading up on it last year how much you scrambled and
sacrificed to try and keep it all afloat, even while it was revolutionizing the film industry. Just last week, or
last month, didn't you get socked with some $1.6 million tax bill in New York?
ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah, New York.
MAUREEN DOWD: For the Sundance Channel or something?
ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah, the Sundance Channel.
MAUREEN DOWD: How are you going to pay that? That's crazy.

ROBERT REDFORD: I don't know. I'll probably have to rob something. [laughter]
MAUREEN DOWD: Go back to robbing banks. You were in Captain America. Was that fun?
ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah, it was fun.
MAUREEN DOWD: It made like some huge amount of money around the world.
ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah. That was really fun. [laughter] It was really fun. It was a fun part to play; I
liked playing a villain. It was fun.
MAUREEN DOWD: Do you watch TV at all? Do you watch Netflix or any of the news stuff
ROBERT REDFORD: No.
MAUREEN DOWD: on cable? No. Do you write poetry?
ROBERT REDFORD: Yes.
MAUREEN DOWD: Can you recite a bit?
ROBERT REDFORD: No. [laughter] Not after you quote Yeats; I mean, are you kidding?
MAUREEN DOWD: You're married to a painter. Do you still paint?
ROBERT REDFORD: No, I don't. I draw, I sketch, but I don't have the time to paint like I used to.
MAUREEN DOWD: You gave an amazing performance in All is Lost, and I know you say you're not an
awards person, but were you disappointed that you didn't even get an Oscar nomination for that?
ROBERT REDFORD: No, I really wasn't.
MAUREEN DOWD: Really?
ROBERT REDFORD: I really wasn't.
MAUREEN DOWD: You lost part of your hearing making All is Lost. No regrets about that?
ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah! [laughter] No, I'm really happy about that. [laughter] Yeah, that was a
consequence.
MAUREEN DOWD: It's a tough one. How did that happen?
ROBERT REDFORD: I'm not an awards person. I don't mean that I have disrespect for the awards. I
think awards are important to a lot of people. They never have been for me. And so, therefore, that's not
Do they say stop talking?

MAUREEN DOWD: She's giving me notes. No, no, not you.


ROBERT REDFORD: I just never have been an awards person. My whole life, I've never really To me,
that's not the issue. It's really the work that's fun. When you do the work and you feel good about it, let it
go. And then what comes afterward, all the celebration and stuff, I've never been I mean, I'll certainly be
honored, I'll be flattered, but it's never meant that much. So no, I wasn't disappointed, I really wasn't.
MAUREEN DOWD: You didn't think there was any penalty? I mean, in a way you set up a competing film
industry to Hollywood, and you and Paul Newman always kind of stayed away from Hollywood. You didn't
think there was any penalty for that, that you weren't sucking up to them?
ROBERT REDFORD: I think I probably suffered more than he did, because he didn't completely disown
Hollywood. He did a lot of Hollywood movies. He tried to be pretty independent on his own and he tried to
do other kinds of movies, but he did Hollywood movies. I did Hollywood movies, and I love the films that I
made in the '70s. It's the fact that Hollywood ceased to make those kinds of films anymore, and they were
going in a different direction, and that direction I didn't feel the projects were that exciting. But Paul and I
shared a lot in common. But he did a lot of Hollywood. He was there back in the '50s, so he did a lot.
MAUREEN DOWD: Did you ever see the Baz Luhrmann Gatsby with the Jay-Z rap score? You told me
3D Gatsby might be fun, to see Gatsby throw all his pink shirts right off the screen into the audience.
ROBERT REDFORD: I didn't see it.
MAUREEN DOWD: You said that wasn't a favorite performance, because you and Mia Farrow were too
controlled or restricted?
ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah, that's right. I felt restricted. And yet, that was sort of the point I think that the
director wanted to make that the character -- and I get this -- the character was somewhat restricted by
the fact that there was an artificial part to him because he wasn't really who he was. I liked all that; I
thought that could have been emphasized even more with some private scenes showing the contrast,
showing the real him and the constructed him, rather than just the constructed him.
I didn't see the other.
MAUREEN DOWD: I'm just going to ask you two more quick questions and then we're going to ask
questions from the audience. I was curious; I was watching Butch Cassidy the other night and I was
curious about the role of music in your movies, because that duh duh duh duh, Butch Cassidy soundtrack
set the tone so well. And I saw you in an interview with Barbra Streisand where you said whatever
happened, she can't sing in The Way We Were and then you said her song kind of made the movie. And
the same thing with Burt Bacharach's song in Butch Cassidy. You hated the idea of it, right? And then you
thought it was great when you saw it. Is that weird when music plays such a large role and you don't know
how it's all going to come out in the end?
ROBERT REDFORD: I was so wrong. When I made the film, it was 1969. I was just lucky to be in the film
because there was an age difference between Paul and me, and the studio did not want me in the film
because they didn't think I was a large enough name. So I was lucky to be in the film. I guess I must have
thought of it as more of a certain kind of film. So when I saw the screening, when I saw the rough cut with

George Roy Hill, the director, I said, "What the hell is that song doing?" [laughter] What's that about?
Raindrops keep falling?" [laughter] And it's not even raining? [laughter] This is nuts! That's how wrong I
was. I had to listen to that song on the radio for six months.
Then in The Way We Were, I said to my friend Sidney Pollack, who I'd worked with before, "Now, look,
Sidney, Barbra's going to be in this and she's going to act. She's not going to be singing." He said, "No,
no, no." [laughter] And I was wrong, clearly wrong on both fronts.
MAUREEN DOWD: George Clooney and Brad Pitt are fine, but I think that you and Paul Newman have
one of the coolest friendships [applause] in Hollywood history. And I know how much he loved playing
practical jokes on you. Can you give us, when you think about Paul Newman, what your best story about
him is?
ROBERT REDFORD: Oh, the car? When I was younger I raced cars in California for about a year-and-ahalf. Then I got married when I was very young and that was going to be out. But I still had my love of
racing cars, so I always kept racing cars throughout my life. Paul and I were doing Butch Cassidy and I
had a Porsche 904. There was only 100 of them made, and we were driving from my house in Sundance
down to our location and I asked him if he wanted to drive. At that time, he drove souped-up derby
jalopies and things like that; Volkswagens souped up. And when he drove it, he really got taken with it.
The next thing I knew he got into and he went to Bondurant's driving school in California, his racing
school. Next thing I knew, Paul went into racing and took it very, very seriously.
So our friendship was always very strong, but I started to get bored, because every time we got together
all he talked about was racing and cars. And I said, "Hey, Paul," and he said, "I got this thing," and I'd say,
"Hey, I get it. Let's talk about something" he just couldn't stop talking about cars. So for his 50th birthday,
we were both living in Connecticut so I decided to play a joke on him. I called a towing service and said,
"Do you have any crushed automobiles? Do you have a Porsche?" They said, "It's funny you should
mention that. We had a car fall off a track and landed on a Porsche and crushed it, and we have it." I said,
"Hold it, I want to wrap that in paper and put a ribbon around it." And I called the towing service and said,
"Would you deliver this to Paul Newman's house and put it on his back porch?" [laughter]
So I waited and I waited. I called them and asked, "Did you do it?" and they said, "Yeah, we did that." I
didn't hear anything, I didn't hear anything. And a couple weeks later I went into my rented house in
Westport, Connecticut. In the foyer was this big box, big wooden box. And it took me about an hour-anda-half to crowbar it open. And inside was this big block of metal, just a big square block of metal. I said,
Oh, okay, I know what, okay, I get it.
So I then called a friend of mine who was a sculptor and said, "Look, if I give you a piece of material,
could you do a sculpture out of this material?" She said, "Well, yeah." I said, "Sort of something like for
the garden." She said Yeah. So I called the towing service and the guy says, "Hey, what's going on
here? This is really great. [laughter] We've got a great thing going here." I said, "Pick this thing up and
take it to the friend's house." They did. Called them, "Did you do it?" "Yes, we did." Then three weeks later
she called and said, "I finished. I think it's quite nice." I went over to see it and it was horrible. [laughter]
But it was just sort of what I had hoped. [laughter] So I then called the guys back and said, "Okay, guys,
take it back to Newman's place and put it in his garden." The guy says, "Hey, we hope this keeps going
on and on." [laughter]

Anyway, they took it. I said, "Did you do that?" They said, "Yes, we did." And to this day, neither Paul nor I
ever spoke about it. [laughter]
MAUREEN DOWD: I had one more before I get to these. Have you ever made a commercial, even in
Japan?
ROBERT REDFORD: No.
MAUREEN DOWD: Why?
ROBERT REDFORD: I don't know.
MAUREEN DOWD: Even George Clooney does Nespresso in Italy.
ROBERT REDFORD: I don't know, I just didn't want to do it. Just didn't want to do it.
MAUREEN DOWD: Okay, the first question from the audience is: In the movie All is Lost, few words are
spoken. What was it like, given your articulate nature, to not say a word or very few words? What is it, 15
or 30? I had the count on the words; it was like 35 words or something or maybe not that many.
ROBERT REDFORD: I don't know. There was just one brief I liked doing that film for a lot of reasons. It
was very low budget. It was a real independent film. I liked the director because we had previewed his
film Margin Call at the Sundance. I liked him.
As an actor, I liked it because it gave me a chance to go back to my roots as an actor. When I first started,
I was an actor for hire, and over the years I've been very fortunate to be successful enough that I could
increase into directing and producing, and so forth. But I think I began to miss that time when I just an
actor and that's all I was, that's all I had to think about and here it was.
Secondly, it was a very pure cinematic experience. Because films had become so adorned with special
effects, high technology has played such a big role in film-making that now you have all these special
effects. They're dazzling. I mean, they're incredible. But I am about story and character and I thought this
is striping away everything. There are no voiceovers, there're no special effects. It's just pure a guy
alone on a boat. And if you strip all those things in between, it allows the audience to become closer to
you as a character, which I like the challenge of having to be in that man's body. So occupying him at that
time was a wonderful experience. It was hard. It was physically hard. I just enjoyed the purity of it.
MAUREEN DOWD: What was the moment where you lost the hearing in your ear?
ROBERT REDFORD: At one point we were outside in the ocean. We're inside of these giant tanks
Cameron had built for Titanic -- huge, huge tanks, in 20-feet-deep water. They had these machines they
had wind machines, rain machines and wave machines in these big cylinders. And when they all got
going, you were in a storm. The waves would get up six, seven feet and the wind would come, and then
the rain would come. So it was a real storm. Like that wasn't enough, they had a guy on the side that had
a fire hose, and he'd be hitting me with a fire hose. So you're really getting doused and getting hit hard to
the point where you can hardly keep your balance. What happened was he was hitting the same side of

me in this ear. So every time we had to do another take there were about six, seven takes it ended up
having an infection and then when the infection cleared away, I had lost partial hearing.
MAUREEN DOWD: That's awful. In terms of the environment, what two or three actions would you
recommend to us as individuals?
ROBERT REDFORD: Oh, I just think that young people, since it's their future and I think it's going to
belong to them, what's left of this planet is going to belong to them. I think we want to give them the reins
and let them go forward and support them. I think we have to do it pretty quickly because the contest
between industry and preservation has been one-sided for so long, you can see the effects. So much is
shrinking of our natural resources. The idea of trying to create balance while there's still time to have
balance, what we preserve for survival, what we develop for our survival, if there's going to be any kind of
balance, we have to get going, because we've lost a lot. I think young people are the future.
MAUREEN DOWD: And this same person wants to know what are your favorite books?
ROBERT REDFORD: I like reading a lot. I like a lot of authors. I've read a lot recently that I like. Smith
Hendersons Bury This, Portes. I like Alice Munroe. I think there are just many authors I like, so I can't just
pinpoint one. I just like to read. It's relaxing.
MAUREEN DOWD: I'm not quite sure -- I'm going to have Barnicle do simultaneous translation on this
question: Tell us about a Boston Braves player.
ROBERT REDFORD: Braves?
MAUREEN DOWD: Is that not what it said?
ROBERT REDFORD: Those days are over.
MAUREEN DOWD: Sibby's sister from your movie.
MIKE BARNICLE: Sibby Sisti. He's a slugger. In The Natural.
MAUREEN DOWD: Oh, in The Natural?
MIKE BARNICLE: You didn't need a bat instructor, pure left-handed hitter. Tell them that.
MAUREEN DOWD: Barnicle's saying that Mr. Redford didn't need a bat instructor because he was a pure
left-handed hitter. I guess Sibby Sisti was
ROBERT REDFORD: Who's Sibby?
MIKE BARNICLE: Sibby Sisti used to play for the Braves.
ROBERT REDFORD: Oh, he played for the Braves. I guess I forgot. I didn't need a
MIKE BARNICLE: Just go "huh?" [laughter]

MAUREEN DOWD: Yeah, he was a natural. He didn't need a bat instructor. What's the next project you
are working on?
ROBERT REDFORD: A project I just finished from a Bill Bryson book called A Walk in the Woods.
AUDIENCE: Ohh! [laughter]
ROBERT REDFORD: Just finished that on the Appalachian Trail. It's a comedy and Nick Nolte and I play
the two guys and Emma Thompson plays my wife.
MAUREEN DOWD: And that was going to be Paul originally?
ROBERT REDFORD: Yeah. That originally was something. When I read the book, I really laughed out
loud and I hadn't done that since I could remember. I was on vacation and I read the book and I didn't
read the book for a while because the cover just had a bear in the woods and I thought, oh, it's another
one of those environmental I keep getting all these environmental and wildlife books -- so I didn't read it
because I thought it was one of the books you're supposed to read. [laughter] I took it with me on vacation
and when I read it, it was just completely different from what I was expecting. I just laughed out loud, and I
don't remember laughing out loud like that.
So I thought this could be a film for Paul and me because we always had been looking for a third piece to
do. But it was hard because we didn't want to duplicate anything. But we also wanted to try to find a
project that would still have the relationship they had in the other two. The first film we did, because I was
young, I played a more dour character and Paul was the lively one. And then the next time out onThe
Sting, he was the cool guy and I was the lively one. So we were looking for a third piece that would be
different in terms of story but would have the same kind of character. And I thought this was it. He and I
having been friends 30 years ago fell out of touch and came back together again to hike this trail. Neither
one was qualified to do it. I went to Paul and he liked it. But it went on and on and on, trying to get a script
and we couldn't get a script for a long, long time. It went on and on, and year after year after year, until
finally Paul's health began to decline and he then told me, "I don't know that I can get out there." And then
when he passed away, that was the end of that. Then it moved on from there.
MAUREEN DOWD: Barbra Streisand told me once you thought about doing a sequel to The Way We
Were, The Way We Are or something? No? He didn't think about it. She thought of that.
ROBERT REDFORD: They wanted to do it. I still think it's a mistake. You leave certain things along. You
did that and it was a wonderful experience. It went a lot better than I ever thought. But it stands on its
own. I think when you try to do a sequel, you're trying to milk something that is better left alone. So I said,
no, I won't do a sequel.
MAUREEN DOWD: You said you loved working with Barbara Streisand and Jane Fonda and Natalie
Wood, you enjoyed your love scenes?
ROBERT REDFORD: I did. [laughter] I think we're about out of time [laughter]
MAUREEN DOWD: I have one more question. This audience member wants to know, would you think
about writing a memoir?

ROBERT REDFORD: No. I feel I'd be more comfortable letting the work that you do stand for you. My
personal life, my private life, I'd like to have one. I think that's sort of my business. There's nothing
extraordinary about my life anyway. But I think the work that you do, you put it out there for a reason. You
want it to be seen and you want it to be appreciated. So I'd rather be known for that rather than anything
else. No, I won't do a memoir.
MAUREEN DOWD: Well, I'd like to thank Mr. Redford because unlike his character Hubbell in The Way
We Were, who things came easily to, I think he has taken the hard route in a lot of his career and done an
amazing number of things in many fields and done it the hard way and not the easy way. So thank you for
being so generous to talk to us here tonight.