When Robert Redford arrived at the Motion Picture Association of America in Washington on Friday night, there was a tennis racket there waiting for him.
Redford was in town to promote the new documentary "All the President's Men Revisited," which he did Thursday night at the Newseum, and then talk about his lengthy film career at the MPAA. He recalled his first visit to the movie industry's I Street hub, for a screening of the original "All the President's Men" movie for a Washington crowd.
"And I was tense, I didn't know how they were going to like it," Redford recalled, noting he was particularly nervous because the Washington Post's publisher, the late Katharine Graham, and reporter Bob Woodward were in the audience. Enter Jack Valenti, the longtime president of the MPAA. (A position held now by former Sen. Chris Dodd.) "So [Valenti] bops in and wants to be the host and he's in a tennis outfit ... he goes, 'Everybody OK, everybody OK here?' And he splits," Redford said to big laughs.
Redford, like most Americans, said he was cynical about politics today because of the intense partisanship. But he also praised D.C. as a place. "I would be at the National Theatre doing a play and I would walk to the Jefferson Hotel where I was staying," he noted. "I loved walking every night in this city -- it was about 15 blocks -- I just loved it because of the way of the city, it had its own life at night."
The actor was joined by a number of prominent Washingtonians at Friday night's event including Woodward, Chris and Kathleen Matthews, Chris Wallace, Arch Campbell and the movie junkie of the Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. At the end of the program they flooded out of the auditorium to the good news that alleged Boston bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev had been arrested.