Burt Reynolds Regretted Turning Down James Bond and 'Star Wars' Roles in Last Interview

In one of his last interviews, Burt Reynolds admitted he regretted turning down roles in James Bond and Star Wars.

Reynolds, the star of Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance and Boogie Nights, died Thursday at age 82. The legendary film icon worked until his death, with Defining Moments hitting theaters in December. He was also cast in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.

Reynolds was also known for turning down famous roles. He was offered a chance to star in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, the James Bond franchise and Star Wars, but turned them all down. He told the Mirror he regretted his bad choices.

"I don’t think there’s any actor who doesn’t think he’s made bad career choices," Reynold said last month. "I was recently with my friend Clint Eastwood, who’s had one of the most successful careers of all. We were laughing about the mistakes we made and he talked about a couple of films he wished he hadn’t made. I have a lot more than that! You learn from it though – you learn to be a better actor."

Reynolds refused to star as 007, believing an "American can't play James Bond." He was also offered the chance to play Han Solo in Star Wars, but the part went to Harrison Ford.

Another poor decision came around the release of Deliverance (1972). He felt he ruined his chances for an Oscar nomination at the time because of his famous bearskin rug nude photo.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time – but now I think it was really stupid. But you can’t regret things like that, you have to move on," Reynolds said.

Reynolds also blamed himself for his break-up with Smokey co-star Sally Field. They dated for five years, and broke up in 1982.

“I miss her terribly, even now,” he told the Mirror. “Men are like that. You find the perfect person and you screw it up.”

Of course, while these regrets may have hurt Reynolds' career with critics, he was still the most popular leading man of the 1970s and early 1980s. He might not have been in Star Wars in 1977, but he was in Smokey and the Bandit. He also did eventually get an Oscar nomination, thanks to his supporting role in 1997's Boogie Nights.

"I didn't open myself to new writers or risky parts because I wasn't interested in challenging myself as an actor, I was interested in having a good time," Reynolds write in his 2015 memoir But Enough About Me, reports The Hollywood Reporter. "As a result, I missed a lot of opportunities to show I could play serious roles. By the time I finally woke up and tried to get it right, nobody would give me a chance."

0comments

Reynolds is survived by his adopted son Quinton. Reynolds was married to Loni Anderson from 1988 to 1994 and Judy Carne from 1963 to 1965.

Photo credit: Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW