Burt Reynolds Didn’t Shoot Role in Upcoming Quentin Tarantino Movie

Burt Reynolds, who died Thursday at age 82, was just weeks away from a shooting start on the Quentin Tarantino-directed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, THR reports.

Now in production in Los Angeles and centered around the Manson Family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood would have seen Reynolds play George Spahn, owner of the ranch where Charles Manson lived with his followers.

Tarantino and producers Sony Pictures have yet to comment on Reynolds’ passing.

Reynolds joined a cast that included such Hollywood heavyweights as Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell, and Al Pacino.

The Pulp Fiction and Hateful Eight filmmaker described his new project as “a story that 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 (Robbie).”

“My uncle was looking forward to working with Quentin Tarantino, and the amazing cast that was assembled,” Reynolds’ niece Nancy Lee Hess said in a statement issued through THR.

Hess praised the Smokey and the Bandit and Deliverance star as more than “just a movie icon,” but also a “generous, passionate, and sensitive man who was dedicated to his family, friends, fans, and acting students.” Despite health issues, Reynolds’ death “was totally unexpected,” Hess said. “He was tough. Anyone who breaks their tailbone on a river and finishes the movie is tough. And that’s who he was.”

Reynolds was nominated for his first and only Academy Award for his role as Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 Mark Wahlberg-led drama Boogie Nights. That role saw Reynolds awarded his second Golden Globe, his first for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood sees Damon Herriman as Manson, among an expansive ensemble cast that includes Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, James Marsden, Emile Hirsch, Scoot McNairy, and Tim Roth.

The film is set to open July 26, 2019.