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Robert Redford retiring from acting? It’s a real possibility now

Actor Robert Redford attends a photocall during the 74th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido in 2017. | TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images

The sun appears to be setting on the Sundance Kid’s acting career.

In a new interview published this week, Robert Redford tells Entertainment Weekly retirement is on his mind, and that his new movie, “The Old Man & The Gun,” will likely be his last acting job.

“Never say never, but I pretty well concluded that this would be it for me in terms of acting, and [I’ll] move towards retirement after this ’cause I’ve been doing it since I was 21,” Redford, 82 this month, said. “I thought, Well, that’s enough. And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive?”

In what could be his last film, Redford portrays Forrest Tucker, a real-life career convict, who reportedly boasted he was better at escaping than Harry Houdini. Elisabeth Moss, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck and Danny Glover are also featured in the film, which is set for a Sept. 28 release.

“To me, that was a wonderful character to play at this point in my life,” Redford told EW.

“The thing that really got me about him — which I hope the film shows — is he robbed 17 banks and he got caught 17 times and went to prison 17 times. But he also escaped 17 times. So it made me wonder: I wonder if he was not averse to getting caught so he that could enjoy the real thrill of his life, which is to escape?”

As to whether his days as director are done, the outlet reports Redford seemed more on the fence and “indicated ‘we’ll see about that.’ ”

Similarly “Old Man & the Gun” director David Lowery shared his doubts as to whether Redford could really walk away when speaking with USA TODAY recently.

“I don’t know if [Redford] will [retire],” Lowery said. “He says it’s his last leading role, at the very least, the last time he’ll star in a movie, but I don’t think he can stop. He just loves it too much.

“I saw him a couple weeks ago and he’s got so many things going on, he’s always got so many projects in the works, that I can’t imagine he will completely abstain from working in film one way or another, even if he doesn’t take another leading role,” he added. “If it is his last leading role, I’m glad he chose me to handle it with him, but I’m sure he’ll keep working.”

Lowery recalls filming one scene where Redford is riding a horse on top of a hill, and his potential swan song after nearly 60 years in Hollywood became very real.

“I went up to him and said, ‘Well, Bob, if you stick to your plans, that’s the last time you’re ever going to have to ride a horse in a movie.’ And I think that hit him in a way. It was one of those moments where we both were thinking about the weight of that.

“So every now and then, it would just bubble up and sneak up on us, and we’d feel a little bit of extra significance about something we’d be shooting.”

“It’s impossible for me to separate the legend from the actor,” Lowery adds. “It’s really easy for me to get caught up in everything that Redford has done for movies, for the environment, for the world, and when I look at him, to see all that.”

Redford previously talked about turning his back on acting in 2016, during a Q&A with his grandson Dylan Redford.

When asked if he ever thought about going back to painting, Redford admitted he was “getting tired of acting.”

“I’m an impatient person, so it’s hard for me to sit around and do take after take after take,” he explained to his grandson. “At this point in my life, age 80, it’d give me more satisfaction because I’m not dependent on anybody. It’s just me, just the way it used to be, and so going back to sketching – that’s sort of where my head is right now.”

Erin Jensen, USA TODAY; contributing: Brian Truitt, USA TODAY