Director David Lowery Calls ‘The Old Man and the Gun’ a Tribute to Robert Redford, Talks ‘Peter Pan’
Posted on Thursday, November 10th, 2016 by Jack Giroux
The Old Man and the Gun is David Lowery‘s next project. The Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Pete’s Dragon director is reuniting with Casey Affleck and Robert Redford for the movie, which is a remarkable true story about a man who spent much of his life in and out of jail and robbing banks, even when he was nearly 80 years old. Redford is playing that man, Forrest Tucker, in a film Lowery calls a tribute to Redford.
Below, the writer-director discusses his next collaboration with the actor.
Lowery and Redford were attached to The Old Man and the Gun before they made Pete’s Dragon, which is a part of how the director got the actor to sign up for the remake. We recently spoke with Lowery for the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Pete’s Dragon, and during our conversation, he told us about the chance to get to write with Robert Redford in mind again:
I’m looking at the screenplay right now. I just wrote a line of dialogue, and that line of dialogue is: ‘How fast were you going?’ [Laughs] I’m just thinking, How is he going to say this? What else do I need to add? It’s fun having worked with him at this point, because I kind of have a sense of him as an actor I didn’t have before I met him. Now I can go and look at his old movies, and see the things I recognize from our own production. I watched Three Days of the Condor not too long ago, and I saw the tics and the traits that he still has, like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s the thing he has.’ Just being aware of those things allows you to write for him in a better fashion.
Robert Redford was well cast as Mr. Meacham in Pete’s Dragon. The actor added to the majestic quality of Lowery’s film. When all the sudden Robert Redford hops in a truck and tells a pair of kids they’re going to make a run for it, it’s adventurous and exciting, and partially because it’s Redford leading the way. Once again, Lowery wants to embrace his image as an actor:
One of the things I want to do with this movie, as I’m writing it, is I want to lean into who he is because I don’t think there’s any getting away from Robert Redford at this point, which we did a little bit of with Pete’s Dragon. Like, I believe him as a consummate storyteller who can keep an audience captivated with his voice. So, with this film, I want to lean into his legacy. I want to lean into all the baggage he brings with him as Robert Redford, and allow him to act and play a character, but also not shy away from embracing who he is. To some extent, I want this movie to be a tribute to him. He probably would not like hearing me say that [Laughs], but I think that’s one of the exciting things about the project, and it was one of the exciting things about Pete‘s Dragon, too, that at this stage in his career he is who he is. You can either cast him against type, or have him play a completely different character, or have him lean into what he does best. In this case, and in the case of Pete’s Dragon, that’s what I want to do.
The Old Man and the Gun is a larger-than-life tale, making it not too dissimilar from some of Lowery’s past work. Forrest Tucker’s story, which involves escaping from jail 18 times, and once from San Quentin, probably calls for an actor and figure as significant as Robert Redford. Putting aside his status for a second, though, The Old Man and the Gun just sounds like the kind of movie you’d want to see star Robert Redford. It’s a great story.
Another project Lowery may tackle in the future is Peter Pan, but that film is a long way off. For those of you who are curious about the current status of that Disney reimagining, Lowery told Inside the Magic him and his co-writer, Toby Halbrooks (Pete’s Dragon), are in the early stages of writing it:
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Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories. It’s always been something I care deeply for so it was completely the opposite of Pete’s Dragon where it wasn’t one of my cherished childhood favorites but this one is. I really have a wonderful working relationship with Disney. Everyone there is just terrific and I wanted to make another movie with them. They suggested this project and asked if I’d be interested and we decided to have a go at it. So we’re working on the screenplay right now and it’s still in the very early stages. We just started writing it but it’s a lot of fun and we’re excited to have that responsibility because when you’re dealing with a movie like that, that’s one of the most famous Disney films of their animated classics, then you need to be very careful with how you adapt it. So we’re taking it one step at a time but having a lot of fun doing it.