Robert Redford doesn't look like the Sundance Kid anymore but the tall, rangy body is still topped by a full head of marmalade-coloured hair. The grin ripples the creases in his face and is familiar -- and surprising.
The Galahad of American movies has survived a rugged time making ‘The Horse Whisperer' his adaptation of British writer Nicholas Evans' novel which seems concreted in the world's bestseller lists.He is the star, director and producer and in all of those roles is running nearly a month behind schedule. Any irritation, upset or anger does not show.
The stalled production clock has nothing to do with accountant's son Redford 's attention to detail, his need to get everything the way he wants it -- like his calculated choice of Kristin Scott Thomas as his co-star before her Oscar nomination for ‘The English Patient'.
Ironically, it is the environment of which Redford is one of the most high profile champions which has been against him. Floods, thunderstorms, mudslides and howling winds have battered location work in Montana 's Boulder Valley . Swarms of mosquitoes and Rocky Mountain midges -- one of the worst bug seasons ever in the area -- have only aggravated the film-makers.
With the pressure on for the film to be ready for release at Christmas -- to qualify for the attention of the 1998 Oscars and the massive holiday audiences worldwide -- the elements have misbehaved with the deadlines.
One summer storm caused the Boulder River to overflow and the gushing water and debris surged into a ranch house specifically built for the film. Across the river a fast sandbagging operation prevented damage to another ranch being used for the movie.
‘The big problem is when you start a scene in the sun and you are supposed to end the scene in the sun and there is no sun', said Redford adding:' Or it is supposed to be cloudy and it's not.'
Redford , used to harsh conditions at his home base 7,000-acre Sundance Ranch in Utah , is even-minded about the frustrations and difficulties.On location assistant Kathy Orloff said: ‘ He doesn't sleep much but he is not a screamer. He's handling it well.'
A major star for nearly three decades -- he hit the 60 landmark this year (August 18,1997) -- he is obviously older but sometimes seems wiser than the years might dictate: ‘There is no point beating your head silly about something over which you have not control. I'm a great believer in positive thinking.
‘Directing my own films has made me more tolerant and patient. I've always been an extremely impatient actor -- you know, not too many takes, don't want to spend too much time on the set. Waiting around used to drive me nuts. Now I'm more understanding about the struggle to make a film.
‘It's part of growing up, of maturing. I remember when I arrived in New York from California.I was nineteen and excited beyond belief. I was an art student and an acting student and behaved as most actors did --meaning that there was no such thing as a good actor as you yourself hadn't shown up yet.
‘I'd go and see John Gielgud appearing in “Ages of Man” and I'd say:”Well, it was OK but....” I enjoyed nothing.
‘I remember watching television and and resenting that I was watching it. I was annoyed because it was sucking me in and I couldn't resist watching it.