Robert Redford said he decided to mentor Captain America in the upcoming sequel to the hit 2011 superhero film because he wanted to go outside his comfort zone.
"I wanted to do something different," he said Tuesday while promoting his upcoming movie "The Company You Keep." "I wanted to do something just to be different, something bold."
Redford, who has never appeared in a comic book movie before, said he will play the head of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," which will hit theaters in 2014.
Since making the financial and critical flop "Lions for Lambs," the 76-year-old Redford has been absent from screens for nearly six years, but he's making up for lost time with a series of projects hitting both the big and small screen.
First there's "The Company You Keep," which with its look at an aging Weather Underground member on the run from both law enforcement agents and an ethically challenged reporter takes a more jaundiced view of American society than the jingoistic Captain America sequel likely will. He stars and directs that film, which debuts this Friday in limited release.
Although Redford's first foray into the world of Marvel Comics has captivated fanboys, he seems more enthused about "All is Lost." The film tells the story of a man on a boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean and his desperate fight to survive a violent storm.
It teams Redford with J.C. Chandor, who directed and wrote the 2011 Sundance Film Festival breakout "Margin Call." In a bold move, there is no dialogue, Redford said.
"It may be crazy good," he said. "It may be crazy not good…. I said at this point in my life, at this point in my career, I'd like to break loose and just do different things and if it comes my way, I’ll grab it if it has quality."
That film will open in September, but before it does, the actor will return to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs with a new documentary for the Discovery Channel called "All the President's Men Revisited."
The project will be shown on television, but will have a premiere in Washington D.C. this month. It will interweave scenes from the 1976 film "All the President's Men" with archival footage of the two Washington Post journalists, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's, whose dogged efforts to expose the Watergate cover-up brought down the Nixon administration.
There will also be footage and tapes of President Richard Nixon discussing the Watergate burglery in the Oval Office with key aides.
"How this man recorded his own mistakes thinking he was going to be this fabulous historical figure is beyond me," Redford said. "It showed how delusional he was."
Redford and Dustin Hoffman, his "All the President's Men" co-star, will be interviewed, along with current media figures like Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow and Joe Scarborough, who will discuss the film's legacy and that of Watergate.
Redford hopes the film and scenes of the bipartisan Senate investigation into White House corruption will leave audiences thinking about the stark contrast between those figures who put country before party and the politicians who preside over Washington today.
"Without anybody saying anything you have both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, working together to get to the truth," Redford said. "So there was a moral tone over those hearings that you didn't think of then because they were doing what they were supposed to do."
"All you have to do is see that and imagine how it is today," he added. "That would never happen."