Robert Redford and Paul Newman are considered one of our all-time great screen pairings after buddying up for two movie classics, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973). It’s surprising then that they never made a third film together, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Redford says that Newman, who passed away in 2008, almost costarred in Redford’s new film A Walk in the Woods. The movie — which is in theaters now and is based on the 1998 book of the same name by Bill Bryson — stars Redford as Bryson and Nick Nolte as his pal Katz as the out-of-shape duo attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail. “It started with Paul, because Paul and I had been looking for a third film to do together,” Redford, 79, told Yahoo Movies in a recent interview, which you can watch above. “A lot of time had gone by, and I just couldn’t find it. When I read this book… I thought of Paul right away.” Redford then sent Bryson’s book to Newman, but the older actor didn’t think he could handle the physicality of the story, so had to pass on playing Katz.
Butch and Sundance’s onscreen reunion wasn’t meant to be, but Redford knew right away who else he wanted to walk in the woods with: three-time Oscar nominee Nolte. “I thought he was just a good actor, and had played a diversity of roles,” Redford said. “I just liked his work.”
Watch Redford talk about five of his most famous films in our new episode of ‘Role Recall’: