Robert Redford

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Robert Redford doesn't shy away from talking politics.

And when it comes to the just-ended government shutdown, the progressive-minded actor shares his idea about what drove conservative Republicans to try to nullify President Barack Obama's legislative agenda, including Obamacare: racism.

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday to promote his critically acclaimed new movie, All Is Lost, the 77-year-old Redford attributed the current gridlock in Washington to fear by the right of a black president and the change he represents.

"There is a body of congressional people that wants to paralyze the system. I think what sits underneath it, unfortunately, is there's probably some racism involved, which is really awful," the Oscar winner told the cable network.

He noted that Obama's detractors have repeatedly rejected anything he proposes "because their determination was to destroy this person."

"They wanted, if it meant destroying the government, anything to keep him from succeeding," Redford said.

He continued: "I think just the idea of giving credit to this president, giving him credit for anything, is abhorrent to them, so they'll go against it. Never mind that it's the better good of the people, never mind that they're supposed to be in office representing the interest of the public. They're representing their own self-interests, which is very narrow and in some cases bigoted."

The screen legend—who in All Is Lost plays a sailor struggling to survive at sea when his boat is damaged—did express hope however that the governmental ship could right itself if more women and young people get engaged in the political process.

"Give them the reins," said Redford. "I think they can do better than we have."

All Is Lost hits theaters on Friday.

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