James Marsden's take on a young Burt Reynolds didn't make it into the final cut of Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

By Ale Russian
July 24, 2019 11:18 AM
Advertisement

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood almost featured James Marsden as a young Burt Reynolds.

Though Marsden’s casting in the film was announced last year, the final cut of Quentin Tarantino‘s highly-anticipated 9th film doesn’t feature the Westworld actor playing the screen legend. According to Collider, Marsden’s scenes as Reynolds were cut from the film, which features actors embodying several Hollywood icons, including Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate.

The late Reynolds, who died in Sept. 2018 at the age of 82, was originally cast in the movie to play George Spahn, a rancher who allowed Charles Manson and his followers to stay on his property. Reynolds died before getting the chance to film the movie, and the role went to Bruce Dern instead.

But while he didn’t get to film for the movie, Reynolds did take part in the table read with the main cast shortly before his death. Brad 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.

Burt Reynolds
| Credit: Getty Images

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

“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.

The rehearsal turned out to be the last Reynolds ever did.

“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,” Tarantino told the magazine.

“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.”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens Friday.