The ineffably sexy and immaculately hairy Burt Reynolds has survived Navajo-killing bandits, churning rapids, rapist rednecks, sharks, and a dreadful Adam Sandler remake of The Longest Yard. But, surprisingly, the thing that gave Burt Reynolds the most trouble in his long, winding career was portraying an affable pornography filmmaker for Paul Thomas Anderson. In Anderson’s Boogie Nights (1997), a modern classic that certified Mark “Don’t Call Me Marky Mark or I’ll Break Your Nose” Wahlberg as a legit actor and made the young Anderson the talk of the Tinseltown, Reynolds portrays Jack Horner, the porn director who discovers Wahlberg’s massive member and turns him into the most ubiquitous porn star of the ‘70s. Even though Reynolds received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, he didn’t love working for Anderson. As he tells GQ:
“Personality-wise, we didn’t fit … 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.”
Maybe Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Luis Guzman, and the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman had experiences that differ from Reynolds, as they all worked with Anderson multiple times. Regardless, we still love Burt Reynolds. He’s a star, he’s a star, he’s a big, bright, shining star.