Published On: Thu, Sep 6th, 2018

RIP Burt Reynolds: A charismatic, classy actors – Best Films List

I met Burt Reynolds briefly during the Cop and a Half production, filming in Tampa. I was working at USF’s prop shop in the theater building and had a chance to be thanked for our contribution.

I was struck by two things: first, he was WAY bigger than I thought, not knowing at the time that Reynolds played football at FSU. Second, Burt was a classy, classy kind actor, very gracious to every person in the room.

I put together a “Best of” list to honor Burt’s great career.

Cannonball Run and Smokey and the Bandit

Reynolds is nearly single handedly responsible for making Bandit a box office hit. The script was on a legal pad at one point, but Reynolds and the cast was able to improvise much of the material.

Jackie Gleason was given free rein to ad-lib dialogue and make suggestions. It was his idea to have Junior alongside him throughout. In particular, the scene where Sheriff Justice unknowingly encounters the Bandit in the “choke and puke” (a roadside diner) was not in the original story, but rather was Gleason’s idea.


Cannonball and Smokey showcased the 70’s hot rods and appeal of racing with Reynolds using his charisma to become the most efficient salesperson at that point.

Fun fodder to date.

photo courtesy of Fathom Events

Boogie Nights

Paul Thomas Anderson expose on porn with an amazing cast centered around the Oscar performance by Reynolds and co-star Julianne Moore.

Few people know that Reynolds did not get along with Anderson while filming. He said of Anderson: “I think mostly because he was young and full of himself. Every shot we did, it was like the first time [that shot had ever been done].”

The conflict is the story of legend: The film’s first AD, John Wildermuth, tells this story: “Burt got so frustrated he pulled Paul outside into the backyard and started yelling at him, like a father, you know? ‘You f–kin’ little punk kid, don’t tell me what to do.’” Actor Tom Lenk added, “All of a sudden we saw fists flying. We saw some fists flying from Burt Reynolds. I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying this, but it was like he was trying to punch our director in the face.”

After seeing a rough cut of the film, Reynolds fired his agent for recommending it.

Anderson wanted Reynolds to star in his next film, Magnolia, but Reynolds declined to do it, saying “I’d done my picture with Paul Thomas Anderson, that was enough for me.”

“I just didn’t like the subject matter,” he told 11th Hour. “I thought I did a good job, I certainly worked hard on that film, but I was never crazy about it.”

The end result: box office hit, award winning film and an Oscar for Burt.


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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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