What do you stand for? Lions For Lambs will move you…
“Lions for Lambs” reflects Redford’s belief that the American people are being failed by the educational system, politicians and media more interested in small matters such as a celebrity’s rehabilitation stay than in bigger, important matters such as the war.
The film deals with the current conflict, but Redford doesn’t want “Lions for Lambs” to be lumped in with other recent productions about the war, such as “Rendition,” “Kingdom” or “Home of the Brave.”
“First of all, if it had just been about the Iraq war, I wouldn’t have been as interested in it as other projects I am developing. I knew there would be a lot of films and documentaries about the Iraq war. That is a subject that is well-covered,” Redford said. “It is far more interesting for me to do a film that involves education, the media and politics and the military by having these individual stories.”
Redford, 71, is certain he’ll be hammered by some people in politics and the media because of “Lions for Lambs.” He has heard that a conversation on Fox News Channel had led to the question “What’s the problem with Redford?”
“My problem is that I love this country. I wanted to make this film because I am in mourning for my country. The film is about frustration. It’s about sadness. It is about what we have lost that we didn’t have to lose because we let this happen.
“I accept the fact that there will be some controversy. The sad thing is that some of the controversy will be biased because our country is so polarized right now, it is horrible. Therefore, there will be those people out there who mischaracterize the film. If you miss the point, it would be easy to say this is a left-wing story.”
But the actor isn’t complaining. He long ago accepted the fact that he’s not going to please everyone.
Redford only wants to make people think.
“How long can we sit with things going downhill because they are being masterminded by people with the same attitude we have seen before? People will say there is a similarity between what is going on and the Vietnam War. Well, yeah. Why? Look at Nixon. Look at Bush,” Redford said.
Despite the frustration that travels through Redford’s voice in waves, there is still a part of him that remains optimistic. He talks about how all that it would take is a little more education.
“If people with broader education went into politics, we wouldn’t have these kind of characters. If young people were more educated about our political system, they would demand certain things they are not demanding now. So, where is the seed that will change this? I think it is education,” Redford said.
It was that optimism that caused Redford to agree to direct “Lions for Lambs.” He has directed only six other films since his directorial debut, the 1980 movie “Ordinary People.”
Asked to speak as Robert Redford the actor, talking about Robert Redford the director, he said: “He is hard to please but easy to work for. I give actors leeway. I have strong feelings about what should come out of their performance, but not by telling them to raise their eyebrows here or there. I give them a guide and edge them this way or that way.”
And with “Lions for Lambs,” Redford wants to edge the American people to move this way or that way when it comes to politics.