The passing of the legendary star Burt Reynolds leaves a hole in Hollywood. The icon felt like he still had many films to make before passing away at 82. While he may have been older than some expected, Reynolds always exuded a young at heart spirit. That made many cinephiles excited for his potential role in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” from Quentin Tarantino. However, his passing came before he shot his scenes, meaning Tarantino would either rewrite the part or recast. We can now confirm (via Deadline) that Bruce Dern will take over the role for his old friend.
Bruce Dern continues to be one of the busiest actors in Hollywood. For many younger filmgoers, Dern reintroduced himself as an actor in a cameo sequence during Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” in 2012. However, Dern’s career goes back to the 1960s and over time he established himself as a reliable actor. He received a Best Actor nomination for his stellar performance in “Nebraska” from Alexander Payne. In 2018 alone, he appeared in 6 films, including “Chappaquidick” and “White Boy Rick.”
The question now becomes how big will the role for Dern? With the cast ballooning in size, this could very well be a short scene. There are now over a dozen well-known actors in the film, including Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCarprio, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, and now Dern. Dern already showed up in one Tarantino film for a microsecond. However, the role could be slightly larger, a la his role in “The Hateful Eight” from 2015. In that film, he was not long for the world but still appeared in about thirty minutes. The circumstances for that particular film differ, but you never know. It’ll be curious to see how Tarantino uses the actor.