Redford swept away in shipwreck saga 'All Is Lost'
Actor Robert Redford, centre, and his wife Sibylle Szaggars, centre left, arrive for the screening of All Is Lost at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
CANNES, France (AP) — Robert Redford makes actions speak louder than words in shipwreck drama "All Is Lost."
He doesn't have much choice. A man-versus-nature tale about a lone sailor adrift on the Indian Ocean, J.C. Chandor's movie has no dialogue, just a few lines of voiceover at the start and a couple of heartfelt expletives.
Redford said he was excited by "the challenge of being solitary, alone, without having the crutch of words."
The second feature from "Margin Call" director Chandor, "All Is Lost" is screening out of competition at Cannes, where both it and 76-year-old screen icon Redford got a warm reception Wednesday.
The Independent newspaper declared the film "utterly compelling viewing," while Variety called Redford "superb."
"I believe in the value of silence in film," Redford told reporters. "I believe it in life as well, because there's a lot of talk around — maybe too much."
Silence "forces you as an actor to be completely inhabiting your role," he added. "If you're not, it's going to show. And that's an attractive challenge.
"It allows you to be totally free and unaware of everything around you except what you had to be aware of, which is the boat, the sea and the troubles that were coming."
Redford, himself the director of movies including "Quiz Show" and "The Horse Whisperer," also said he "really wanted to have an experience where I could give myself over completely to a director."
Chandor — who premiered "Margin Call" at Redford's Sundance Film Festival in 2011 — said he wrote the script with Redford in mind for the role.
Alone on screen for the film's hour and 45 minutes, Redford gives a master class in physical acting. His famous face, as brown and grained as the wood of his yacht, is silently expressive.
Actor Robert Redford, right, and his wife Sibylle Szaggars arrive for the screening of All Is Lost at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Confined to the claustrophobic setting of a damaged and becalmed yacht — and later a tiny life raft — he conveys both the unnamed character's physical struggle with the elements and his deteriorating condition.
While stunt performers were used for some scenes of the movie — filmed in large part on the open sea — Redford took pride in jumping into the physical rough-and-tumble of the film.
"I decided that I wanted to try to do what I could physically myself," Redford said.
"I thought, well, if I could do some of these action things myself, it would be better for (Chandor) — and pretty good for my ego, so why not?"