Brad Pitt said getting to spend time with Burt Reynolds "really touched" him

By Alexia Fernández
May 21, 2019 10:51 PM
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Burt Reynolds left a lasting impact on Brad Pitt.

While the two were cast in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Reynolds never got to act on-screen with Pitt, 55, before he died in September 2018 at the age of 82.

Pitt recalled the experience of working with Reynolds during rehearsals for the film in an interview with Esquire.

“I’ll tell you one of the greatest moments I’ve had in these however many years we’ve been at it in this town: getting to spend two days with Burt Reynolds on this film,” he said.

Reynolds was originally cast to play George Spahn, a rancher who allowed Charles Manson and his followers to stay on his property, but the role went to Bruce Dern after Reynolds’ death.

The iconic actor was “the guy” Pitt looked up to when he was growing up in the Ozarks and watching Smokey and the Bandit.

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Brad Pitt; Burt Reynolds

“Virile. Always had something sharp to say — funny as s—,” Pitt said. “A great dresser. Oh, man. And I had never met him, so being there with him reminded me of how much I enjoyed him as a kid.”

“And then getting to spend those days with him in rehearsal, I was really touched by him,” he added.

Tarantino, 56, said, “The last performance Burt Reynolds gave was when he came down and did a rehearsal for that sequence, and then the script reading. And that was really amazing.”

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Burt Reynolds
| Credit: Courtesy Barrett-Jackson

“It was a f—ing pleasure,” Pitt added.

“I found out from three different people that the last thing he did just before he died was run lines with his assistant,” Tarantino revealed. “Then he went to the bathroom, and that’s when he had this heart attack.”

Reynolds died in Florida after suffering from a heart attack.

“My uncle was not just a movie icon; he was a generous, passionate and sensitive man who was dedicated to his family, friends, fans and acting students,” Reynolds’ niece, Nancy Lee Hess, said in a statement.

“He has had health issues, however, this was totally unexpected. He was tough. Anyone who breaks their tailbone on a river and finishes the movie is tough. And that’s who he was. My uncle was looking forward to working with Quentin Tarantino (in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and the amazing cast that was assembled.”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday to critical acclaim and rave reviews.

The film opens in theaters on July 26.