Burt Reynolds hated working on Boogie Nights and wanted to punch the director

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights (Credit: New Line)

It might have been the best movie he’d made in years, but Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights doesn’t hold good memories for Burt Reynolds.

The 70s set indie classic found Reynolds playing well-meaning pornographer Jack Horner.

And while his performance was lauded – he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor – he’s still never seen the movie, and has no intention of doing so.

“I have a hard time with that whole… Oh, better use another adjective. I have a difficult time. It just wasn’t my kind of film,” Reynolds told Conan O’Brien.

“It made me very uncomfortable.”

He added that he and Paul Thomas Anderson, who went on to make cinematic masterpieces like the Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood, The Master and most recently, Phantom Thread, didn’t get along from the off.

(Credit: Getty)

Reynolds, now 82, said that Anderson asked him seven times to be in the movie before he finally relented.

“No, I didn’t want to hit [Anderson] in the face, I just wanted to hit him,” he explained. “I don’t think he liked me.”

Anderson has spoken of the tension on set in the past, telling the Bill Simmons Podcast last year: “I think that when Burt and I kind of got into it, it may have been the day before or the day after [the where he fights Mark Wahlberg‘s character], but it was a really tense three days on the set of Boogie Nights.

“The other 57 days were really fun and a lot of laughs, but there were three tense days there in the middle where Mark was fighting with Burt, or in the film.

“Looking back, it was really in the nasty part of the movie, too, when really everything’s kind of going wrong.”

But despite the apparent animosity, it appears that Anderson held no grudge against the Cannonball Run star, and even asked him to be in his next movie, the revered ensemble piece Magnolia.

Reynolds said no.

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