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"You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide"

9 Aug, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

Director and star Robert Redford discusses the thrills found in ‘The Company You Keep’

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Robert Redford (The Sting, The Natural) spent nearly half a decade trying to get his thriller The Company You Keep from concept to screen, and if there was any benefit to such a long wait, it came with the talent Redford’s project attracted.

“By the time the film started, it felt like it was my own,” said Redford, who produced, directed and starred in the film. “[The actors] came because they liked the script and they liked the parts I added. I had no idea I was going to attract such great actors, and so many of them.”

Shia LaBeouf (Transformers), Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow), Julie Christie (Doctor Zhivago), Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking), Chris Cooper (American Beauty), Nick Nolte (The Prince of Tides), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air) and others came on board for the film, which sees Redford as a former member of the American radical organization The Weather Underground, on the run decades later after a journalist (LaBeouf) begins digging into his past, and that of other former radicals.

“I was more than intrigued, interested to the point of being on edge, of that movement,” Redford said. “There was a great part of me that was sympathetic — if not empathetic — to what young people were trying to do to get a voice.

“I remember seeing how this thing went off,” he added. “A movement like this reaches its zenith and then consumes itself.”

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases the film Aug. 13 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and includes several bonus features, including two behind-the-scenes featurettes that dig into the movement that inspired The Weather Underground and the script, on-set work and casting of the film. There are also bonuses covering the red carpet premiere of the film and a press conference with Redford and others.

Redford said that while The Company You Keep does feel like a chase thriller much of the time (“The hunter and the hunted was always a theme that interested me. Then there was the idea that you can run, but you can’t hide. You can’t escape your past.”) it’s also meant to be an introspective look at the mistakes these former radicals made, and how they became different people with age.

“Things change. People who were demonized at one point become heroes later. When push comes to shove, what always propels me is the story,” Redford said. “In The Company You Keep a man does what he has to do for the love of his daughter.”

Redford praised the work of the cast he secured for the film, especially “the younger people.”

“Shia for example, he’s got a lot of energy, a fast mind and a fast tongue,” Redford said. “He really focused on the work, and I think he really appreciated being treated like an actor. We had a wonderful time. He was gracious, willing to try anything.”

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