The Movie Role Burt Reynolds Regretted Turning Down the Most

Despite his countless successes, the actor wished he could change some decisions.

The Movie Role Burt Reynolds Regretted Turning Down the MostGLOBE PHOTOS/Shutterstock

Burt Reynolds had a lot to be proud of in his 60-year acting career. Starring in classics like Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance, and Boogie Nights, he was a blockbuster favorite and a Hollywood heartthrob. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have his own career regrets.

The actor was offered (and turned down) big roles like Han Solo in Star Wars and Jack Nicholson’s character in Terms of Endearment. He didn’t feel bad about turning most of them down (“I was busy, but no, I wasn’t so busy I couldn’t have done [Star Wars],” he told Good Morning America in 2015), but there’s one that haunted him years later.

In 1970, James Bond producers approached Reynolds about replacing Sean Connery as the leading man, but at the time, the actor didn’t think he was right for the role. “In my stupidity, I said, ‘An American can’t play James Bond. It has to be an Englishman. Bond. James Bond. No, I can’t do it,’” he told GMA. “Oops. Yeah, I could have done it.”

He may have regretted turning down that role, but fans can be glad he didn’t always stick to his guns when saying “no.” Reynolds told Conan O’Brien in 2018 that he’d turned down his role in Boogie Nights seven times before agreeing to it and claimed he still hadn’t seen the film—despite it being the only role to win him an Academy Award.

“I don’t think there’s any actor who doesn’t think he’s made bad career choices,” he told Mirror. He might have dwelled on certain decisions, but he’ll certainly only be remembered for the good ones—like his role in one of the 100+ funniest movies of all time.

[Source: Mental Floss]

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.