The passing of beloved actor Burt Reynolds was something few anticipated, especially since the seasoned actor was still working in the industry. While production continues on Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, there has been considerable thought put into who will fill the role of the now lamented Reynolds. Recently, Deadline has reported that close friend of the late actor, Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight, Django, and The Burbs) will take over the role of Reynolds’ character George Spahn.
Dern will be joining the film’s cast Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Dakota Fanning, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, and Lorenza Izzo. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood follows a TV actor and stunt double’s journey to establish their name in Hollywood during the Manson family killings in 1969. Dern’s character George Spahn is a nearly blind old man who rents out his ranch in LA to aid the filming of Western movies. Using the women of his cult to persuade Spahn through sexual favors, Manson convinces the Western enthusiast to let his cult stay on the ranch free of (monetary) charge.
There were concerns that Bruce Dern would not be able to fill the role, since he is filming Martin Rosete’s rom-com Remember Me in spain. Fortunately, director Martin Rosete and producer Atit Shah agreed to work out a schedule where Dern could return to the states to film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Never getting to see Reynolds act out a conniving, immoral old-timer is an absolute bummer, but considering Dern’s performances as Old Man Carrucan (Django) and General Sandy Smithers (The Hateful Eight), the role of Spahn is in good hands.
If you’re wanting to hear more about adaptations based on horrific real life events, you can check our coverage on the new trailer for Lore season 2!