Robert Redford spent two months trying to convince British movie icon Julie Christie to sign up for a role in his new political thriller The Company You Keep after tracking her down to a remote part of Spain.

The veteran actor/director was determined to land Christie as a member the anti-Vietnam War activist group the Weather Underground after recalling her earlier days as a rebellious and outspoken "radical", but he had no idea how difficult it would be to find the semi-retired actress and get her to agree to tackle the job.

He tells Wenn, "I saw her (in the role) because I knew her when she was younger. We were both roughly the same age and had film exposure around the same time. I realised that she was radical then and assumed she might stay that way; that would be something to draw on.

"She seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth and then she showed up in a film about Alzheimer's (2006's Away From Her) and I thought, 'Unless that was a real life thing for her, maybe I should call!' So it took a while to get her because she's in a remote area of Spain and sometimes London. It took two months of conversations across the Transatlantic (sic); first of all trying to find her and secondly listening to her telling me why she shouldn't do it, didn't want to do it and didn't think she could do it. Perseverance ruled the day and the effort should speak for itself."

The Company You Keep, based on writer Neil Gordon's 2003 novel of the same name, centres on former Weather Underground militant Jim Grant, who becomes a fugitive after a reporter exposes his real identity as a man wanted for murder and a bank robbery over 30 years prior.