Robert Redford and Nick Nolte Gear Up for Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods

It's been a while since Robert Redford fans have had reason to rejoice in the way that, say, Johnny Depp fans could when he announced he'd be playing the William Powell role in the upcoming revamp of "The Thin Man." Of course, it's not often that kind of perfectly compatible material crosses any actor's inbox. But this could be one of those moments ... if there is any truth to the tentative report in today's LA Times that Redford and Nick Nolte are poised play the lead roles in an adaptation of Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods.

Redford would play Bryson and Nolte would costar as his college buddy, Stephen Katz, who accompanies the expat author on an epic hike along the Appalachian Trail. With precious little wilderness experience or even basic camping skills between them when they embark on the 2,100-mile journey, Bryson and Katz fall prey to a litany of obstacles (think: incompetent Boy Scouts) and challenges along the way. Ultimately, however, the craggy, crusty duo emerge from the experience with new insight into what it means to walk on the wild side and how that relationship with nature informs the American psyche.

In other words, there has seldom been a more perfect match of man to material since Redford directed "A River Runs Through It," based on Norman Maclean's memoir about fly fishing and the complexities of brotherly love. Redford is never more at home on screen or behind the camera than when he's carving a path through some majestic swath of quintessentially American wilderness. He's always seemed as much a part of the national landscape as the Colorado River he and Butch Cassidy plunged into or the Wasatch Mountains, where he presides over the Sundance Film Festival each year as it lures city slickers into Utah's snow-covered hinterlands.

Though Redford and Nolte's involvement in A Walk in the Woods is not quite a done deal, if it does happen, this project is a natural. In fact, we'd be willing to walk the length of the Appalachian Trail ourselves just to see these two actors bring Bryson's journey to life.

  • Jenny Marquez

    Sounds like a wonderful match of talent and a story with a promise to heighten the senses and offerings of life lessons to be digested. I look forward to experiencing the final product.

    • Dick Witt

      What? Ned Beattie and Jonathan Winter weren't available?

  • Redford can do comedy. But I've never seen Nolte do it, and his character has to be. It's one of Bryson's funniest books.

    • zoe

      down and out in Beverly Hills was hysterical

  • So Happy Love Watching ROBERT REDFORD in Movies can't wait to c it then buy it 🙂

  • Greymoon

    North Dallas Forty was pretty funny too.

  • GregoryJ

    Nolte was also pretty danged funny in 48 Hrs

  • Spike

    What - no mention of Redford in Jeremiah Johnson?

  • Marilyn Neumann

    I loved that book. Bill Bryson is probably thinking he's died and gone to heaven having Redford play him. All of B. Bryson's books are so funny. I hope they do it justice.

  • I think Nick Nolte & Robert Redford are both terrific, seasoned actors. I hope they do make the movie together. We need more respectable, interesting movies to watch!

  • David K

    Uh no. Not a good casting. Have you ever actually read the book? Nolte is all wrong for Katz. An ideal casting would be Richard Dreyfuss and John Goodman.

    • astrodweeb

      Good call!

    • dreamjosie

      Good thought. Much better casting. Redford and Nolte are a bit old to play those parts. Sounds like the casting director did not, in fact, read the book.

    • tracey

      I always pictured Oliver Platt (ala Lake Placid) as Katz. He would be perfect

  • Kathy

    As an Appalachian thruhiker myself, I can't wait to see it. In fact, how do I sign up to be in it? They'll need some folks who know the trail, and I do!

  • lisa

    Great book! All Bryson's books are worth a read...

    If you hike the Appalachian Trail please do not litter.

  • mike

    This sounds correction, though: Butch and Sundance jumped into the Las Animas River, not the Colorado.

  • Robert Redford is way too old to play Bill Bryson. Redford is 75 and Bill Bryson is only 60, and was 47 when he wrote A Walk in the Woods. Don't care how good an actor he is, he can't play 47.

  • joe

    Redford is 30 years too old for the part. Nearly so for Nolte as well.

  • Adam

    I am pretty sure I heard the news that Redford had signed on to play Bryson well over a year ago--maybe closer to two? In any case, the Nolte thing is news, and I'm glad the project seems to be back on track.

    Although I think the book would be as difficult to turn into a movie as, say, The Catcher in the Rye.

  • SparkyMcSnarky

    This project has been in works for at least a decade. The role of Katz (Nolte) was originally discussed with Paul Newman.

  • Mark Miller

    robert Redford is as old and craggly as the mountains; rusty, dusty and lacking class in a BIG way. He is tight, lousy, tries to be a leader and cannot and absolutely stinks as an actor these days. If you ever want to see a fake, with plastic surgery and toupees see him up close and personal, if you don't throw up, then you need glasses, his pink colored ones. The guy is a billion dollar flake who takes us all to the cleaners with his vision of indie film and prarie land; now how much do you think he has made as America's golden Icon. Think about it... And he can't act.e

    • kay2the2nd

      Redford = YUK!!!
      May be even worse than eastwood in Bridges of Madison County. At least Eastwood can almost act; Redford not at all.

    • claudia

      Aren't you being a bit too harsh? I mean yes Redford is probably too old for the part, but he was in any case gorgeous in his early years and I enjoyed many a film of him - (ok, out of africa). I am a big fan of Bryson and fellow travellor/hiker - hope the movie turns out pretty faithfull to the book, and some awareness to basic (lack of) environmental principles would be more than welcomed.

  • Mark Miller

    Don't moderate the truth, give me a break, first amendment, let the truth be told.

    • dreamjosie

      Both guys are too old. The Katz character needs to be someone overweight and goofy in a simple and sincere way. That's not Nolte.

  • Peter Wiles

    Redford is too old and suave to portray Bryson, an average Joe who has aspirations beyond his normal range. We all think of Redford (in his younger years) as someone athletic who could hike the AT backwards and forwards. on the other hand, Bryson is attempting something physical way beyond his range. And Nolte is not a pudgy non-athlete that Katz is. Nolte exudes ex-pro football player and alcoholic. Whereas Katz is totally non-athletic, self-effacing and "goofy". Giamati could play either part really well. Suggest you read the book!

  • C. Kelly

    What about Dustin Hoffman as Katz?

  • tracey

    Not a good choice in casting. Redford too old. Maybe someone like Paul Giamati as another poster stated. He's bookish and non athletic looking.
    Oliver Platt would be a perfect Katz. Think of his character in Lake Placid, perfect!

  • Sam

    May I just say that it was always going to be Redford in the leading role. Redford (or his people/production company) was the one who obtained the rights for the book adaptation. While I agree that he is not the ideal person for the role, it is his project and therefore his choice to cast himself. The book is fantastic and the film should be taken for what it is - an adaptation.

  • zoid

    no no, Richard Dreyfuss needs to play Bryson and John Lovitz needs to play Katz

  • Sandy

    One of my favorite books and have been waiting for years for it to be made into a movie - but seriously Redford & Notle? Way, way, way too old! The guys in the book are in their 40's not 70's. By aging the characters 30 years I don't see how the movie can be anything like the book I love. Unless the movie is recast with more age appropriate actors, I will not be going to see it.

  • Elaine

    Tom Hanks as Bryson and Philip Seymour Hoffman or Paul Giamatti as Katz. Redford and Nolte are fine actors, but WAY too old for the parts of Bryson and least 20 years older than Bryson and Katz were when they hiked the AT.

  • William Hurt and Oliver Platt would be a good choice, with Redford behind the camera.