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Robert Redford was rejected for this movie because he was too cool

Turns out there is such a thing as being too cool, as Robert Redford learned back in the '60s when he was rejected for a role in a romance movie.

Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker in The Sting

There is no denying that Robert Redford is and always has been a very cool dude. The legendary actor has starred in some of the best movies of all time, but he actually missed out on a great role once because he was deemed too cool to play the character in question.


Redford has appeared in the Western movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the thriller movie The Sting, and the drama movie All the President’s Men. Cracking roles for any actor, and he’s even popped up in the MCU, too.

The one role that evaded Redford at the time, though, is the lead role in the brilliant romance movie The Graduate. Director Mike Nichols told Vanity Fair why he didn’t pick Redford for the role.

During a screening of The Graduate at the Directors Guild of America Theatre in New York, in 2003, Nichols said: “I interviewed hundreds, maybe thousands, of men.”

Ultimately, of course, the role of Benjamin Braddock would go to Dustin Hoffman, who received an Oscar nomination for his performance. Benjamin is a young man who is meant to be rather mild-mannered and awkward. So, when Redford came forward for the role, Nichols saw one problem.

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“I said, ‘You can’t play it. You can never play a loser.’ And Redford said, ‘What do you mean? Of course I can play a loser.’ And I said, ‘OK, have you ever struck out with a girl?’ and he said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he wasn’t joking,” Nichols recalled.

So there you have it, being cool isn’t always the path to success. With the career Redford has had, we’re sure he doesn’t mind missing that one role too much.

While you’re here why not look ahead to all the new movies coming your way this year.