Magazine article Variety

Act Their Age or Age Their Act? Stars Strive to Keep Reinventing

Magazine article Variety

Act Their Age or Age Their Act? Stars Strive to Keep Reinventing

Article excerpt

Hollywood sexagenarians strive for renewed relevance, but not everyone can pull it off

Robert Redford is playing a heavy in the next Captain America film, Clint Eastwood is flirting with The Jersey Boys and Michael Douglas is looking cute as Liberace.

Why this random information? Because the superstars of the 65-and-over set are wandering down unexpected paths these days in a determination to keep their creative lives (and income streams) aloft.

I've always been empathetic to the plight of the "senior stars" as they figure out their third acts. In searching for roles, must they still get the girl? Or should they simply go to Lakers games, like Jack Nicholson, or write thrillers, like Gene Hackman, or pose for ads, like Sean Connery? Or, like Warren Beatty, should they keep trying to revive weary projects from the past? (Yes, Beatty still wants to explore the Howard Hughes mythology.)

The past has been haunting Redford (age 76) lately. His new film, The Company You Keep, revisits characters and political themes that have earlier failed him (remember Lions for Lambs?) and he has even completed a new documentary titled All the President's Men Revisited. Some critics argue that his directing style, like his subject matter, has become relentlessly stolid, which is paradoxical in view of his dedication to Sundance - the mecca of young ideas and experimental filmmaking.

Robert' De Niro, who's about to become a septuagenarian, also has an important festival involvement (Tribeca commences next week) but he has been the most daring, and diverse, in his acting choices. The man who once played Jake LaMotta is willing to jump from Fokkers farce to bipolar pathos (Silver Linings Playbook) and has kept himself busier than any of his contemporaries.

Dustin Hoffman, age 75, celebrated his senior standing by directing his first film, Quartet. Tom Hanks, a kid at 56, is relishing his first Broadway role, in Lucky Guy, by Nora Ephron. …

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