Oct. 15, 2013 at 9:50 AM ET
Robert Redford has almost no dialogue in his new film "All Is Lost," but the legendary actor opened up on TODAY on Tuesday about the film, his character, and how he always regarded being labeled a sex symbol.
Matt Lauer asked Redford about the challenges of making the film in which Redford plays a nameless sailor at sea who faces extreme odds after his boat is crippled by a shipping container. "This is all you," Lauer said. "It's you on screen alone, in silence, tight shots of your face ...."
"I'm surprised the audience still stayed," Redford joked. But those who do stay with "All Is Lost" will be rewarded with what the Oscar winner called "pure cinema."
"It wasn't reliant on special effects, digitial. It wasn't going to be heavy in post-production, it was just pure. I loved that," Redford said. "As an actor I liked the idea of there not being any interference between you and the experience of the audience — in other words dialogue, voice-overs, things likes that. That was rare and for me it was extremely attractive. I was very drawn to that."
The 77-year-old Redford was also drawn to the story of a man who wouldn't quit. "At what point do you keep going and other people stop? When the odds are against, the odds are impossible, you say, 'That's it. All is lost. I can't go any further, so I won't.' And other people just keep going for no other reason than just to continue. And that's always fascinated me."
Redford was less fascinated by Lauer's reading of glowing reviews for the film — "they're embarrassing" — and by talk of what it was like to be at the top of sex symbol lists in years past.
"I got really nervous about what my life would be like if I played into that," Redford said, before detailing how he coached himself into not becoming an "object" in Hollywood. "Just keep going forward and focus on the future. Don't look back."
Fans of Redford should look to theaters on Oct. 18 when "All Is Lost" opens.