After mentioning it in various interviews over the years, Robert Redford has announced that his adaptation of Bill Bryson’s nonfiction bestseller A Walk in the Woods will be his next project, with director Barry Levinson said to be on board as well. The meaning of the film’s title is literal, and the plot follows Bryson and his crass, fat ex-alcoholic friend as they attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgie to Maine. Only 10-25 percent of those who attempt the hike in its entirety are said to succeed; after much deliberation, Bryson and co. did not.
“It’ll be fun. I don’t know when I’ve read a book that I laughed so loud,” Redford said to the AP. “Also it’s a chance to take a look at the country. …The backdrop is pretty terrific, if you stop to think of all the visuals that are possible as they go along that trail.”
At one point, Redford was trying coax his friend and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid co-star, Paul Newman, to play the friend, but no word if that remains the case. Personally, I doubt it. After Woods, Redford said he will hop on the gestating Untitled Jackie Robinson Project to star as influential Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey for director Thomas Carter. Redford described the film as an “inside, down to the mats story.”
While a bigger audience probably awaits A Bloody Run in the Woods, I’m a sucker for growing-old-is-cool wilderness films like Redford’s A River Runs Through It from 1992. To bad he’s not directing this one, as he has a killer eye for such imagery, much more-so than on war polemics like Lions for Lambs, but he’s clearly hands-on here.