Burt Reynolds died after running lines for Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, claims Quentin Tarantino.
The director had cast the veteran actor in his ninth film as George Spahn, an 80-year-old blind man who rented his Los Angeles ranch out to be used as a movie set for Westerns, but he passed away before shooting his scenes.
In an interview with Esquire, Tarantino says some of Reynolds last words would have been lines from the film.
“I found out from three different people that the last thing he did just before he died was run lines with his assistant,” the director said, “Then he went to the bathroom, and that’s when he had his heart attack.”
Reynolds died on September 8, 2018, at the Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, aged 82.
Though he didn’t shoot any scenes for the film, Brad Pitt says he enjoyed the brief time they spent together on the film.
“I’ll tell you one of the greatest moments I’ve had in these however many years we’ve been at it in this town: getting to spend two days with Burt Reynolds on this film,” Pitt recalled.
“You’ve gotta understand, for me, growing up in the Ozarks and watching Smokey and the Bandit, you know, he was the guy. Virile,” the actor continued. “Always had something sharp to say—funny as s**t. A great dresser. Oh, man. [Laughs.]
“And I had never met him, so being there with him reminded me of how much I enjoyed him as a kid. And then getting to spend those days with him in rehearsal, I was really touched by him.”
Bruce Dern was eventually cast as Spahn in the film which premiered at Cannes Film Festival this week to rave reviews.
Tarantino’s latest centres on Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton, a jobbing Western actor struggling to stay relevant in a changing Hollywood, and Pitt’s Cliff Booth, Rick’s best pal and long-time stuntman.
Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, a rising star of new Hollywood, who moves in next door to Rick with her boyfriend Roman Polanski, who is hot off the success of Rosemary’s Baby.
Their lives become intertwined with the Manson family, led by infamous cult leader Charles Manson, and the action takes place over three fateful days in Tinseltown during 1969.
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is in cinemas from 14 August.