October 15, 2004
Living legend Robert Redford has conquered all aspects of the theatrical realm. As if acting success weren’t enough for the man, he also chose to helm his first film in 1980. That movie, Ordinary People, won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Surprisingly enough for such an acclaimed thespian, this is the only Academy Award he has ever won. In the quarter century since then, Redford has gone on to make five more films and even won a second nomination for Best Director with Quiz Show. In summation, while it’s natural to think of Redford as one of the greatest actors in the history of film, he has received more Oscar attention for his work behind the camera. And now, his son is poised to follow in the footsteps of his famous father.
James Redford makes his directorial debut with Spin, a movie based on the 1991 novel of the same title by Donald Everett Axinn. The 1950s period piece follows the travails of a recently orphaned boy. After the tragic death of his parents, the youngster is raised by a kindly Hispanic ranch manager. During the boy’s troubled adolescence, he encounters anti-Mexican bigotry but manages to find peace in salvation through a love of flying and his newfound crush on a local Mexican-American girl.
The cast is quite strong. Stanley Tucci took this project immediately before doing The Terminal with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Ruben Blades prioritized Spin as his first project after Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Paula Garcés of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and Dana Delany of China Beach are also onboard. Spin has already won the Crystal Heart Award and the Heartland Film Festival and will continue to play the indie festival circuit for the foreseeable future. (David Mumpower/BOP)