If you peruse certain entertainment-related comment sections, you’ll see split opinions on whether the news of Robert Redford possibly joining the cast of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” makes any sense. For some, it might raise an eyebrow when nearly every film choice Redford’s taken over the last 45 years were all artistic, non-pedestrian gems that (at least in part) did well at the box office. In other opinions, it might be merely Redford deciding to do a patriotic superhero movie now because he never has.
Whatever the reason is behind Redford’s decision (which isn’t finalized as of this article), it likely has something to do with the reported description of “The Winter Soldier” being a political thriller. Considering how political Redford has been on certain issues and his contributions to the depiction of politics in cinema, he may not think it’s all that much like a superhero movie. With rumors of him playing a higher-up in the organization of S.H.I.E.LD., it could be a continuation of the vibe felt in “The Candidate” or “All the President’s Men.”
No matter what he plays, Redford’s acting career needs some revitalizing for a new generation. Most of his acting in recent years has been in small independent films that adhere to his indie philosophy, but ultimately take him away from the spotlight. Even now, Redford has two smaller films about to release that show him back to an acting mode not seen since the 1980s.
“The Company You Keep” is yet another political thriller that played at various film festivals last year. There, he plays a former political activist coming to terms with his past, and it’s scheduled to hit theaters in early April. With the political thriller never going out of style, it may make some money if it’s marketed as much as the “Captain America” sequel will be.
That dichotomy will be shown most markedly with the film “All is Lost”, which has Redford playing a man who’s lost at sea. Because it reportedly has no dialogue, it could be an Oscar contender for Redford if he can truly hold the movie without uttering a word. Although the movie’s very indie nature may shelve it into empty theaters on the indie circuit.
Conversely, it’s not out of the question if he’d be nominated for an Oscar for the above right around the time when “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” releases. Whether that’s by design or not, it would be a brilliant move to push Redford into the world where indie and mainstream meet. Not many can balance those worlds, yet a rescued acting career nearly needs both worlds now in order to stay watched by many eyes.
In that regard, Redford may be not only reinventing his acting career, he’ll also be reinventing how to get out from the indie universe so you’re a household name again. Even if Redford helped foster the indie film movement, it’s clear that new actors who adhere exclusively to that arena need a mainstream movie now and again to prevent having fragmented fans within a crowded indie race.