When he wasn't regaling Sundance press Thursday with his Chairman's History of the Festival, he spoke candidly about his prospects for duty in a more arts-friendly Barack Obama administration. As in, zero.
"No," Redford replied sharply when asked if he might consider a role working with the incoming president, who is said to be mulling the introduction of a "culture czar" in Washington. It's nothing personal — the man does have other things to do, and there is some lingering bitterness over his last trip to the nation's capital.
"I went do DC this year with John Legend and Kerry Washington to lobby for more money from the NEA for art," he said. "And what was weird was you go through this kind of a charade where everyone's so glad you're there — 'Thank you for coming,' and so forth. And then you go through this heartfelt session about how important it is and yada yada yada. And at the end they say, 'We're so happy you came. It makes us so happy that you care so much, but we can't help you. We've ran out of money.' And we said, 'Well, you could have told us that up front and saved us a trip.' "
But don't get him started. Really. "Nerves," he shouted last night, prefacing his introduction ofMary and Max. "Angst. Worry. Pain. Panic. Fear. I'm not talking about the festival, although I thought you might think I was. I'm talking about what's going to be exiting the national stage on Tuesday."