Burt Reynolds ‘Hated’ Working With ‘Boogie Nights’ Director Paul Thomas Anderson
We’ve heard many stories about the making of Boogie Nights and the tough time Burt Reynolds had (or that everyone else had with Burt Reynolds) on the set of Paul Thomas Anderson’s classic film. And while many believe the actor gave his career-best performance in the porn industry drama, Reynolds doesn’t really have anything positive to say about his time with Anderson or the film — which he’s never watched all the way through.
You may remember the fantastic oral history of the making of Boogie Nights, which ran last year on Grantland (RIP) and included a couple of stories about Reynolds, who reportedly got into physical altercations on set with Anderson and co-star Thomas Jane. Even fellow veteran actor Philip Baker Hall said he wasn’t going to mess with Reynolds.
The iconic actor didn’t participate in the oral history, but he is finally sharing his side of the story while out promoting his new memoir, But Enough About Me. While speaking with The Guardian, Reynolds says that he hated the movie and “hated” working with Paul Thomas Anderson, confirming much of Grantland’s previous reporting —Mark Wahlberg had said that Reynolds despised the film and would have won the Oscar “had he not dug such a hole for himself.”
Reynolds also reveals that Anderson offered him a role in his follow-up, Magnolia, but the actor declined. He says, “I’d done my picture with Paul Thomas Anderson, that was enough for me.”
When asked in a separate interview with GQ if he’d ever work with Anderson again, Reynolds said, “I don’t think so. Personality-wise, we didn’t fit.” When pressed, he offered more:
I think mostly because he was young and full of himself. Every shot we did, it was like the first time [that shot had ever been done]. I remember the first shot we did in Boogie Nights, where I drive the car to Grauman’s Theater. After he said, “Isn’t that amazing?” And I named five pictures that had the same kind of shot. It wasn’t original. But if you have to steal, steal from the best.
Directors often emulate other directors and pay homage to classic works, but between last year’s oral history and Reynolds’ latest comments, it seems like the biggest issue on set was the age difference — Anderson was a young, up and coming director working on a pretty ambitious drama, while Reynolds was the veteran actor being ordered around by someone who could be his kid. It’s easy to see how the two might clash, as they often did.
Boogie Nights wasn’t just Reynolds’ last great role, but it might have truly been his best, regardless of his own feelings on the matter. Since then, the actor has been in several TV movies, guest starred on The X-Files and My Name Is Earl, and appeared in films like Mystery, Alaska and The Dukes of Hazzard reboot. His upcoming film projects look like the kind of stuff that goes directly to VOD — nothing since 1997 has come close to the greatness he delivered for Anderson.