Paul Newman’s Candid Confession: The Unfiltered Truth About His Opinion on Robert Redford

In a revealing confession, actor Paul Newman acknowledged harboring some grudges against his co-star Robert Redford during the filming of the iconic movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Despite their on-screen chemistry, Newman, who portrayed Butch Cassidy, admitted having mixed feelings about Redford, who played the Sundance Kid. The 1969 film, based on the real-life outlaws, was a massive success and won four Oscars.

Newman and Redford, both legends in their own right, reunited four years later for another hit, “The Sting” (1973). While their collaborations were successful, Newman, at the age of 44, confessed to a BBC Talking Pictures interview that he initially wanted to play the character of Sundance. He mentioned enjoying their time together, noting, “We have a lot of fun together, and we bounce off each other really well.” Newman explained that playing Sundance might have brought a more relaxed quality to his performance.

At the time of filming, Redford was a rising star who had gained recognition with a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year in 1965. In contrast, Newman was already a Hollywood heavyweight, having achieved superstardom with notable roles in films like “Cool Hand Luke” (1967) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958).

Interestingly, Redford was cast in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” after Steve McQueen turned down the role. According to Newman’s memoir, “The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man: A Memoir,” the two stars were not true friends during filming, and Newman expressed frustration with Redford’s unreliability, stating, “You can’t depend on Redford. You’re never sure he’s going to be there. That’s simply discourteous.”

Newman’s youngest daughter, Claire Newman Soderlund, suggested that differences in their working styles might have contributed to their conflicts during the production.

Claire Newman Soderlund, Paul Newman’s youngest daughter from his second marriage to Joanne Woodward, shed light on the dynamic between her father and Robert Redford during the filming of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” According to Soderlund, Newman, known for his strict adherence to timeliness, found it challenging to work with Redford, who was more of a free spirit. Despite their differences, the two actors shared a connection while portraying iconic characters.

After Paul Newman’s death from lung cancer in 2008, Redford reflected on their relationship, emphasizing the connection formed while playing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Redford noted that the fun they had on set initiated their bond, and as they moved forward, they discovered more similarities and common ground.

While the duo explored the possibility of collaborating on a third film after “The Sting,” it never came to fruition. However, there was a potential project in the works. Bill Bryson’s book “A Walk in the Woods,” adapted into a 2015 film starring Redford, almost became their next venture. The story revolves around two out-of-shape elderly men attempting to hike the challenging Appalachian Trail.

In 2005, Redford, who produced and appeared in the film, chose the script with Newman in mind. He sent the book to Newman in 2015, hoping they could work together again. However, due to concerns about his physical ability, Newman ultimately cast Nick Nolte in the role.

The relationship between Paul Newman and Robert Redford deepened significantly since their initial collaboration on “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Despite living just a mile apart in Connecticut, the two highly regarded performers not only acted like brothers but also developed close ties with each other’s families.

Reflecting on their friendship after Newman’s death, Redford emphasized the profound knowledge they had of each other’s flaws. Redford playfully mentioned that he might have outweighed Newman in terms of flaws but highlighted the joy they found in playing and tricking each other. Their camaraderie became a scenario in itself, filled with surprises and, most importantly, a lot of fun.

Redford shared insights into Newman’s personality, describing his love for having fun, laughter, and even enjoying his own jokes, regardless of their quality. Newman’s infectious enjoyment of his own humor often led others to join in the laughter, caught up in his sheer delight. The bond between Newman and Redford extended beyond their professional collaboration, evolving into a deep and enduring friendship.