Sundance Kid quick to shoot down plans for remake of classic film

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The Independent Culture

But Redford, who played the Sundance Kid, has criticised a mooted remake of the classic western. Asked about rumours that plans are afoot to make a new version of the 1969 film, he said he found the idea depressing. "There is no shortage of good, original ideas, and there's just no point to remakes," he said. "Why do they have to mess with things that were perfect the first time around?"

In recent years there has been a slew of remakes of classic movies, including Peter Jackson's version of the 1933 film King Kong.

But now there is talk that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are discussing a new version of Redford and Newman's film, which featured two of Hollywood's most glamorous actors in their prime and won a total of four Oscars. The pair were reunited four years later with the same director, George Roy Hill, in The Sting, which won seven Oscars including best picture and best director.

News of Damon and Affleck's purported remake came with the suggestion that the former would reprise Redford's role as the Sundance Kid while Affleck will play Butch Cassidy.

Redford's comments came in an interview to promote this year's Sundance Film Festival, which opened this week in Utah and is due to run until 29 January. The annual festival is an important showcase for independent and film-makers.

"Our willingness to take chances on films and filmmakers speaks for itself," said Redford. "Sundance has been good for independent film-making. I think there were a few lifted eyebrows at first, but we've established a relationship based on mutual trust and respect."

Redford, 68, could soon be partnered with Newman once again in Aloft, a film that he is planning to both direct and act in about the flight of the North American peregrine falcon.

Last year Redford was honoured for his contribution to the American film industry at a ceremony in Washington attended by President George Bush. Redford, an outspoken Democrat, said he had initially been reluctant. As it was he enjoyed the event. He said: "I got to sit in Thomas Jefferson's seat. That, alone, made it worthwhile."