Even though Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who were real-life outlaws, got along well, actor Paul Newman acknowledged that he had some animosity for the young Robert Redford during the entire filming process.
Redford as Harry Longabaugh, or “Sundance Kid,” and Newman as Robert LeRoy Parker, aka “Butch Cassidy,” were convincing in their depictions of the Wild West buddies, legendary criminals who were escaping the law after a run of bank and railway robberies. This is a true monument to their acting prowess.
One of the best Western movies ever made, the 1969 movie, which was based on the real outlaws, earned four Oscars. The duo reunited four years later in The Sting (1973), a caper film with two equally alluring heartthrobs.
Newman and Redford, both legends in their own right, had a special chemistry together. Have you ever wondered, though, how Hollywood’s A-listers interact when no one is watching?The actor who played Butch, 44-year-old Newman, acknowledged having feelings for the 33-year-old Redford’s character.
In an interview with BBC Talking Pictures, Newman said, “We have a lot of fun together, and we bounce off each other really well.” He continued, “I would have wanted to play Sundance.” I’m a bit more at ease with that cooled-out quality. I assume it must be the easier part.
Redford was a rising star who shared the 1965 Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year with Natalie Wood for their performance in the film Inside Daisy Clover.
After starring alongside Elizabeth Taylor in films like Cool Hand Luke (1967) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Newman was already a household name.
After Steve McQueen declined a role in the movie, Redford was cast opposite Newman, who was garnering praise for his acting and directing in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Additionally, McQueen turned down roles in the films One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The French Connection, and Dirty Harry.
According to Newman’s memoir, “The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man: A Memoir,” the two superstars weren’t really friends at the time, the BBC writes.
You can’t count on Redford, Newman remarked. You can never be certain he will show up. That is absolutely impolite.
Their rivalry may have been exacerbated by their dissimilar working approaches, according to Newman’s youngest child Claire Newman Soderlund, whom he fathered with his second wife Joanne Woodward.
My father was a stickler for timing, and Bob never really excelled at it, she added. Dad has a lot of work to do. Because Bob was more of a free spirit and he wanted to be good and successful, he worked really hard at it.
Redford, now 86, reflected on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when he remarked, “It was just that connection of playing those characters and the fun of it that really began the relationship,” referring to Newman’s death from lung cancer in 2008. “And then once the movie started, once we moved on, we then discovered other similarities that just multiplied over time, a common ground that we both had between us, interests and so on, and differences,” the author continued.
Following their roles as infamous outlaws and later thieves in The Sting, Newman and Redford explored the possibility of working again on a third film, but nothing came of it.
It almost occurred in Bill Bryson’s 1998 novel A Walk in the Woods, which was made into a 2015 film. This buddy movie’s story revolves around two older men who wish to climb the difficult Appalachian Trail but are out of shape.
With his close friend Newman in mind, Redford chose this script for the 2005 film, which he both appeared in and produced.
“It started with Paul,” Redford remarked in 2015. “Paul and I had been looking for a third feature to do together. It had been a long time, and I was still unable to locate it. I immediately thought of Paul when I read this novel.
Redford, who was 79 at the time of the interview, asserted that he gave Newman a copy of the book, and that Newman eventually chose Nick Nolte for the role because he wasn’t certain Redford could physically pull it off.
Newman and Redford, two renowned actors who first collaborated in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, have developed a much closer bond since then. The actors, who started acting like brothers after living just a mile apart in Connecticut, are also close with their families.
Redford stated, “We both got to know each other’s flaws pretty well,” after his friend passed away. Of course, I was superior to him in that regard. Knowing one other’s weaknesses, we just exploited them and tried to fool one another. We would strive to surprise each other, and it was so incredibly entertaining that it practically formed its own scenario.
Paul loves to laugh and enjoy himself, and he especially enjoys laughing at his own jokes, some of which are quite terrible, the speaker continued. Because of how much he enjoyed them, you eventually stopped understanding the joke and started laughing along with him.
The chemistry between Paul Newman and Robert Redford was fantastic! Please share your thoughts on their on-screen friendship and on-off-screen romance!