Burt Reynolds was, in a sense, supposed to be in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood twice, once as blind ranch owner George Spahn and once as James Marsden (The Stand, Hop) playing the Smokey and the Bandit star. Sadly, Reynolds died before getting the chance to film the movie (the role went to Bruce Dern), and Marsden’s scenes were cut, but his presence can still be felt.
In the latest issue of Sight & Sound magazine, there’s an interview with Quentin Tarantino, who revealed that Reynolds suggested one of the film’s funniest lines. When asked about Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) telling Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) that he’s “kinda pretty for a stunt guy,” the Hollywood writer/director said, “I did not come up with that. Burt Reynolds read the script, and he knows a lot of stunt guys. And Burt said, ‘So Brad Pitt is playing the stunt guy?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And Burt says, ‘You gotta have somebody say, ‘You’re kinda pretty for a stunt guy.’ And the thing is, Brad doesn’t like making his looks a thing in a movie, but he couldn’t say no to that, because it was Burt Reynolds’ line!”
Tarantino added that watching Pitt-as-Booth “grin and bear” Bruce Lee’s teasing is “really great. Because he doesn’t really dig it. But the fact that Burt Reynolds came up with it — he can’t say shit!” I mean, would you say shit to this guy?