Hal Holbrook hasn’t retired yet!
I last saw Hal Holbrook in Sean Penn’s wonderfully affecting Into The Wild, and after that film and his resulting Oscar nomination it was widely thought that the esteemed veteran of stage and screen was retiring from acting. Watching what he did with his minor part, how he brought such empathetic power and understated grace to every line he spoke, such a retirement struck me as a major blow for all who love the art of cinema.
Well, apparently he’s not done yet. He’ll be teaming up with the superb Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) and the quietly maturing Robert Pattinson in the upcoming Water for Elephants, about a young student who abandons his veterinary studies after his parents are killed and joins a traveling circus. It appears to be set during the heyday of the American circus, the 1920s and 30s, which I’ve always found a fascinating era and a fascinating world for storytelling.
I guess it’s unusual for a strapping young man like myself to be such a big fan of an actor my grandparents were likely big fans of, but he’s just that awesome. I saw his Mark Twain one-man show when I was younger and it’s still one of the greatest experiences I’ve had with drama. Great to see him back in the saddle!