It worked for John Travolta. And Pam Grier. And Robert Forster.
Is Quentin Tarantino about to revive Burt Reynolds’ career in a big way, too?
The film director with a deep love of ’70s movies and ’70s icons is apparently discussing with the Jupiter movie legend a role in his new movie, “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” about Manson-era Los Angeles, according to the web site Deadline Hollywood.
“Reynolds has a great role in front of him, maybe the best one the iconic ‘Deliverance’ star has gotten since ‘Boogie Nights,’” writes Deadline reporter Mike Fleming, Jr.
Reynolds, 83, would play George Spahn, an 80-year-old, sight-impaired rancher who rented his property to Charles Manson and his female disciples before they went on their infamous murder spree at the home of actress Sharon Tate in the summer of 1969, Fleming reported.
According to Fleming, Wikipedia and histories of the era, Spahn got sexual favors for renting to Manson, and the women helped guide him around. He also gave the women nicknames, such as Lynette Fromme being called “Squeaky.” She would later try to murder President Gerald Ford.
If Reynolds takes the role, he would be joining a powerhouse cast and be back in the thick of mainstream Hollywood filmmaking for the first time in years. According to Fleming, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are committed to making the movie, having starred in previous Tarantino movies.
Fleming also said Tarantino regulars Kurt Russell and Tim Roth are being considered for roles. “I, Tonya” and “Suicide Squad” star Margot Robbie has talked to Tarantino about playing Tate, Fleming reported.
“Tarantino has provided the chance for film audiences to rediscover great actors from the ’70s who were largely forgotten…What an opportunity he’s got here with Reynolds,” Fleming wrote.
Would Reynolds consider the role? He’s spoken disparagingly about his Oscar-nominated role as the porn director in “Boogie Nights,” saying he was never comfortable with the material. Tarantino’s movies are often brutal, bloody and laced with politically incorrect profanities.
But Reynolds also told the New York Times recently: “I don’t know why I think this, but maybe I’ve got my best work ahead…I want to do something where I’m not driving a car or a truck, where it’s real. Something that people wouldn’t expect me to do. Probably a man in search of himself. But we’re always searching for ourselves anyway.”
Reynolds recently drew a lot of media attention for his role as a Reynolds-like personality in the indie film, “The Last Movie Star.” Despite good reviews for Reynolds’ performance, that film’s arthouse distribution could not match the potential spotlight — and awards possibilities — of a juicy role in a Tarantino epic for a major studio.