Sept. 29, 2008— -- The following is an excerpted transcript of ABC News' interview with Hollywood legend Robert Redford on the death of his co-star and longtime friend, Paul Newman, for "World News With Charles Gibson" on Sept. 29, 2008.
QUESTION: First, let's start, just off the top of your head, any reflections that come to mind immediately about your friend, about Paul, on this day?
REDFORD: Yes. There are a lot of things that come into my mind. I think probably the first thing would be what the country saw, that this was a man who lived a life that really meant something and will for some time to come.
In my -- you know, there will be a lot said about Paul, and all of it deserved, and there'll be a lot of accolades and a lot of, oh, postmortems on his life and career, and I think that will speak well for him.
My issue is just the fact that it was a personal friendship and relationship, and that I come at it from probably a more personal place that started years ago. And the durability and the length of this friendship has created a pretty deep root. And so that's sort of where I come from.
I mean, I -- when I first met Paul, I came in contact with one of his virtues, which was generosity. In the film "Butch Cassidy," I wasn't -- the studio didn't want me. I wasn't as well known as he was. And he wanted me in the film and the director was, "Well," but he wanted me in the film. Now, he didn't have to do that. I mean, the fact was he was quite well known. I wasn't.
The studio didn't want me because of that. But he said, "I want to work with an actor," and that was very complimentary to me, because that's, I think, how we both saw our profession, that acting was about craft, and we took it seriously, because we both came from the same background of theater in New York.
So that was the first, the first indication with Paul. And then once the film started, once we went forward, we then discovered other similarities that just multiplied over time, a common ground that we both had between us, interests and so forth, and differences.
The differences we had great fun with, you know. But anyway, what happened in the film was that we played characters -- we focused on the characters, and I think because of our respect for the craft, we focused on the characters.
The iconic stuff is not anything we paid attention to and whatever came out of the relationship of the two characters was kind of not our business. That was for others. But it was just that connection of playing those characters and the fun of it that really began the relationship.
So the partnership in the movie that started cinematically then became -- it just sort of went into life in a very natural way. So we became friends, then we did the other film, "Sting." Again, different characters, but playing them the same way. And by that time, we had developed a friendship that then grew beyond that. So over time, because I lived in Connecticut for a while, about a mile from him, we got even closer then.
What we -- I think what we found out over time was that the things that made us friends were -- had a lot to do with values, what we saw as valuable in society. Obviously, Paul was very socially responsible. He was very generous, as I said, and he had a lot of integrity and all those qualities were pretty fierce, and I liked that.
I mean, that's, I think, what hooked us up. Respect for privacy, personal privacy, that's another common connection. Family, that Paul's concern and his commitment to his family is huge.