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Burt Reynolds didn't get to work on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Burt Reynolds The Last Movie Star Adam Rifkin

For a period of time from the 1970s into the early '80s, Burt Reynolds was the top box office draw in Hollywood, and it was around then when he starred in several of my favorite films - the one I revisit most often being 1977's car chase comedy classic SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. A few months ago, I was really excited to hear that Reynolds had been cast in writer/director Quentin Tarantino's new film ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, his biggest project since he worked with Paul Thomas Anderson on BOOGIE NIGHTS (and earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in that film) twenty years ago.

Yesterday, I was surprised and saddened to hear that Reynolds had passed away at the age of 82. He had dealt with health issues in recent years, but the end came unexpectedly... And when I heard the news, I hoped he had already filmed his scenes for ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, so it could be his swan song. Unfortunately, it has since come out that Reynolds had not yet made it to Tarantino's set.

In a statement released by Reynolds' family, his niece Nancy Lee Hess mentioned that 

My uncle was looking forward to working with Quentin Tarantino, and the amazing cast that was assembled.

His scenes weren't scheduled to begin filming until the end of this month.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD takes place

in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood. The two lead characters are Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), former star of a western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don’t recognize anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbor… Sharon Tate.

Reynolds had been cast in the role of George Spahn, 

an 80-year-old near-blind man who rented his L.A. ranch out to be used as the location for Westerns. Charlie Manson convinced Spahn to allow him and his followers to live on the ranch, in the months before they murdered Tate and six others. In exchange for rent, Manson coerced his female followers into hopping into bed with the ranch owner, and serving as his seeing-eye guides, per reports.

Reynolds would have been featured in a cast that also includes Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Damon Herriman (as Charles Manson), Al Pacino, Michael Madsen, Scoot McNairy, Rafal Zawierucha, Emile Hirsch, Costa Ronin, Luke Perry, Dakota Fanning, Clifton Collins Jr., Keith Jefferson, Nicholas Hammond, Rumer Willis, Dreama Walker, Margaret Qualley, Victoria Pedretti, Madisen Beaty, Danny Strong, Sydney Sweeney, James Landry Hébert, Mikey Madison, Spencer Garrett, Eddie Perez, Maurice Compte, Maya Hawke, Lena Dunham, Austin Butler, Lorenza Izzo, James Remar, Martin Kove, Brenda Vaccaro, Nichole Galicia, Zoe Bell, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Timothy Olyphant, James Marsden, Marco Rodríguez, Ramón Franco, Raul Cardona, Julia Butters, Damian Lewis, Mike Moh, and Clu Gulager.

Reynolds was one of Hollywood's greatest legends, so it was perfect that he was going to be in a film titled ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, especially since it takes place at a time when he was rising to stardom. It's very sad that someone else is going to be playing George Spahn in the film now.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD is scheduled to reach theatres on July 26, 2019.

Reynolds recently completed his work on a comedy titled DEFINING MOMENTS, which is set to be released this December. Earlier this year, he added another great film to his résumé with writer/director Adam Rifkin's THE LAST MOVIE STAR (pictured above), a movie that made me simultaneously tear up and crave GooGoo Clusters.

R.I.P. Burt Reynolds
1936 - 2018

Extra Tidbit: Our heartfelt condolences go out to Reynolds' family, friends, and fans.
Source: Bustle

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