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Film legends Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek on aging gracefully on-screen

In "The Old Man and The Gun," Robert Redford is a charming, well-dressed and friendly old guy -- who just happens to be a bank robber. He and co-star Sissy Spacek join Jeffrey Brown for a conversation about their first time acting together, the benefits of aging, and the joy of being swept up in a scene.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    Now to a new film opening soon that features some legends of the screen.

    Jeffrey Brown got a preview earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival.

  • Robert Redford:

    Excuse me. I would like to open up an account.

  • Actor:

    What type of account do you have in mind?

  • Robert Redford:

    This kind.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    He's a charming, well-dressed and friendly old guy who happens to be a bank robber.

  • Actor:

    He was also sort of a gentleman.

  • Actor:

    He was very polite.

  • Actress:

    He seemed like a nice enough fellow.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Robert Redford, himself age 82, is Forrest Tucker, head of what becomes dubbed the Over the Hill Gang.

    Was that just irresistible to you, to take on this story?

  • Robert Redford:

    Yes, because I'm over the hill.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    That was it?

  • Robert Redford:

    I was very attracted to the idea that a guy who robbed banks — somebody said, do you rob banks to make a living? He said, no, I rob banks to have a living. And I always liked that idea.

    He just loved — he just loved his life.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    The new film "The Old Man & the Gun" is directed by David Lowery and features Casey Affleck as a small-time detective eager to nab the elusive bank robber.

  • Casey Affleck:

    Yes, I won't lie. I would love to slap cuffs on him myself.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    It's based on a true story first told by author David Grann in The New Yorker magazine.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    I don't believe a word you say.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Also on board, another acting great, Sissy Spacek.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    I'm the only thing in it that's not true.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Spacek is, of course, known for numerous performances over the years, including ""Carrie" in 1976 and her 1981 Oscar-winning role as Loretta Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter."

  • Robert Redford:

    Excuse me. Need some help?

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Now 68, she plays Jewel, who has recently lost her husband, meets Redford's Forrest Tucker by accident, and isn't quite sure what to make of him.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    The main thing I needed to figure out was, did I believe him the first time he told me he robbed banks?

    Prove it.

  • Robert Redford:

    Prove it?

  • Sissy Spacek:

    Yes.

  • Robert Redford:

    You want me to prove it?

  • Sissy Spacek:

    Yes.

    I just thought that was a line. I just thought he was trying to be cute and funny, which he was being cute and funny.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Yes, but it's kind of a weird pickup line. But he's a charmer.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    But it worked.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    There's also in this film a lot, especially in your character, the idea about getting away with something, getting away with it.

  • Robert Redford:

    That's always been appealing to me.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Why is it appealing?

  • Robert Redford:

    It's just fun to try to get away with something. I think it's just a fun concept, yes, particularly if it doesn't get dark or harsh.

    The whole idea of this film was, whatever these characters were doing, they had fun. And that — I like that idea, particularly in these dark times that we're living in. We're living in such dark times.

    And one of the other appealing parts of this film was that it's a film that, during these dark times, brings a nice light into something. It's very upbeat. And I think that's pretty healthy right now.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    This movie is a real meditation on aging, is it not? I mean, both of your characters, how to age gracefully, what to do as you age, was that…

  • Robert Redford:

    I don't spend a lot of time thinking about that.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    You don't?

  • Robert Redford:

    No, no, not about aging.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Robert Redford:

    Therefore, whether I'm graceful or not, I just don't want to think about it.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    But when you have to play a character?

  • Robert Redford:

    I think the character doesn't think about it either. He just goes about what he loves doing.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Do you think about it?

  • Sissy Spacek:

    I'm a woman. Of course I think about it.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Yes.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    It's a bummer.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Sissy Spacek:

    No, actually — actually, I think this is just one of my favorite times of my life. We get respect. It's amazing.

  • Robert Redford:

    Isn't that nice?

  • Sissy Spacek:

    It's so nice. Getting old is not all — it's not so bad.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    In fact, the two have never before acted together.

  • Robert Redford:

    You know what I do when the door closes? I jump out the window.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    But on screen, under director David Lowery, they have an easygoing, natural chemistry and, in person with us, egg each other on.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    We had so much fun when we were doing that scene in the diner.

    Tell me what that is then.

  • Robert Redford:

    My style?

  • Sissy Spacek:

    Yes.

  • Robert Redford:

    OK, well, let's take this place. This place is not my style.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    The first day we worked on it, we did it little tiny pieces. And it was just kind of driving us crazy.

  • Robert Redford:

    Yes.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    The next day, we came back to that. And we finally said, David, can we do it all in one?

  • Robert Redford:

    All in one, yes.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Oh, yes?

  • Sissy Spacek:

    And then, when we did it all in one, it just went to new places.

  • Robert Redford:

    Yes.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    Don't you think? It was just…

  • Robert Redford:

    Oh, absolutely, yes.

    It's got to feel right. The timing has to feel right.

    And you could improvise while you were doing it, as long as you stayed within the context of the characters in the story.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Yes.

    Is acting easier, harder having done it so long, having done so many…

  • Robert Redford:

    Well, it's always been hard, but you want to make it look easy. I mean, I think that's the objective. You want to make it look easy.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    And, sometimes, you just get swept away. And I think it's like when the scene plays you. And then, when you finish, they go, OK, let's do that again. Do the same thing.

    I think, what happened? Where I am?

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Robert Redford:

    I don't know what to do.

  • Sissy Spacek:

    You live for those moments where — where you're swept away, and you lose yourself in the moment and in the scene.

  • Robert Redford:

    Yes.

    Along that line, being in the moment is part of what being an actor is, to be in the moment. If you're really in the moment, that means things are going to be just loose enough for you to improvise if you have to, if you're in the moment, as long as the moment's real.

  • Robert Redford:

    You just walk in real calm.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    In "The Old Man & the Gun," Robert Redford, the actor, plays a man who just can't stop doing the one thing that gives him life, even if it is something that lands him in jail every so often.

    But Redford the man has announced this will be his final role. He's going to stop. We will have that part of the conversation in our next report.

    For now, I'm Jeffrey Brown from the Toronto International Film Festival.

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