Burt Reynolds was unable to film final role in Quentin Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

Taryn Ryder
Burt Reynolds visits Build Series on March 15, 2018 in New York. (Photo: Getty Images)
Burt Reynolds visits Build Series on March 15, 2018 in New York. (Photo: Getty Images)

After years of relatively forgettable projects, Burt Reynolds was looking forward to a return to screen glory in one of 2019’s most anticipated movies. Unfortunately, what would have been the latest in a career of comebacks was not meant to be.

The screen icon, who passed away Thursday from cardiac arrest, was only weeks away from filming his role in Quentin Tarantino‘s upcoming Charles Manson project, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film, which also stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell, and Al Pacino, is currently in production in Los Angeles.

The Boogie Nights star was set to play George Spahn, the blind owner of the Los Angeles-area ranch where Manson and his followers lived during 1969 — the year Sharon Tate and six others were murdered.

Filming began in June, touted by an Instagram post of Pitt and DiCaprio in vintage dress.

View this post on Instagram

First look. #OnceUponATimeInHollywood

A post shared by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on Jun 27, 2018 at 6:00am PDT

Robbie followed weeks later with a photo of her channeling Tate.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood focuses on Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), a former star of TV Westerns, and his longtime stunt double, Cliff Booth (Pitt). Rick is Tate’s next-door neighbor, and their stories will be woven together in a Pulp Fiction-like epic. Timothy Olyphant, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Scoot McNairy, Clifton Collins, and Luke Perry are also in the sprawling ensemble.

Although Reynolds had health problems in recent years, his family called his death “totally unexpected.” Reynolds’s niece, Nancy Lee Hess, released a statement Thursday saying the actor “was looking forward to working with Quentin Tarantino, and the amazing cast that was assembled.”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is set to be released on July 26, 2019.

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