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Nick Nolte Rocks the House at 'The Company You Keep' Q&A, from Redford to Draft Dodging to Malick

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 5, 2013 at 5:26PM

Robert Redford is an impeccably controlled filmmaker who takes his art seriously. While none of his films have been as accessibly commercial as "Ordinary People," which won him the directing Oscar, this movie is Redford's best since "Quiz Show."
Nick Nolte in 'The Company You Keep'
Nick Nolte in 'The Company You Keep'

"This story meant something to Bob," said Nolte, "he was intimate with it, lived with it, gave it a lot of thought, it was gnawing at him. He's an artist who gets entangled with his work." As a director he's not an authority figure, he said.

Back in the 60s, "I didn't want to go to war," Nolte said. "I couldn't imagine myself killing anybody." He drove a hearse registered in his name off a cliff onto the 9th hole of a golf course, and thousands of fake IDs were discovered with it. He was told, "You're a felon, now you can't go to Viet Nam." 

"This film took be back to that time," he said. "I'm glad I never went to war." Redford asked him to flip the peace sign for the first time in some 20 years: "It was pretty cool." 

As for working with Terrence Malick on one of his untitled movies, Nolte made fun of how the director shoots three-quarters of a scene--which freaks out the actors not wanting to land on the cutting room floor-- and waits to shoot at magic hour every day. "Look at this tree!" "Let's shoot the caterpillar!"

This article is related to: Interviews, Interviews, The Company You Keep, Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon, Shia LaBeouf, Anna Kendrick

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.