“He has a good ego on him, so he loved it,” says Chandor. “Just kidding. Actually he does have an ego, but he knows it, which is partially what makes him great.”
In All is Lost Redford plays a character called “our man,” a sailor on a solo yacht trip on the Indian Ocean. When his thirty-foot boat collides with an abandoned shipping container he must use all his resources to survive.
The actor is alone on camera for the entire film, battling the elements and facing his fate.
“I think he realized it was a wonderful time in his life to get rid of all the distractions,” says Chandor. “He has an unbelievably complicated and interesting life with Sundance, the Sundance Institute, his non profit work and directing.
“His life is a bit of a race but he came to Mexico for two-and-a-half months [to shoot the film]. His personal secretary was the only one who knew how to get in touch with him so all that other stuff faded away and for a two-and-a-half month period we went on this very intense journey.
“By the end of it we had gone someplace together, as a crew, an actor and a director. He really loved exposing himself both emotionally and as a performer more than he ever had.”
Critical reaction has been strong and Redford’s name is being tossed around as a shoo in for a Best Actor Oscar nomination.
“He was able to do these very complex emotional transitions but you don’t just see the shift [as a viewer] you actually feel like you’ve been on a little bit of the journey with him.”
It is a raw, emotional performance unlike anything Redford has done before on screen. In his virtually wordless performance the actor becomes a blank canvas that viewers may project their own notions of the meaning of life death and everything in between.
“If the film is working for you you’ll see the man go, ‘Don’t freak out, pull yourself together,’” Says Chandor. “[Redford] and I talked a lot about that. We are not people that have that kind of dialogue out loud so we internalized it. Our hope was that by internalizing it we would create a far more open book for the audience to bring their own hopes and fears to it. What you’re dealing with is one person coming to grips with death, alone.”