Burt Reynolds's Buddy Bruce Dern Will Replace Him in Tarantino's Manson Movie

Reynolds was supposed to play Manson associate George Spahn before his death.
September 28, 2018, 2:37pm
Dern photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage. Reynolds image via Steve Granitz/WireImage.

Before Burt Reynolds passed away earlier this month at the age of 82, he was set to make yet another Hollywood comeback—this time, in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie about late-60s LA, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Sadly, Reynolds died before he was able to film his scenes, and so Tarantino has cast one of Reynolds's old friends to take over his role, Deadline reports: Bruce Dern.

Dern worked alongside Reynolds several times over the years, beginning as far back as 1965, when the pair appeared in an episode of the WWII series 12 O'Clock High together. He also appeared in the 2003 movie Hard Ground, directed by Reynolds himself.


He'll replace Reynolds as George Spahn, the aging, blind ranch owner who rented out his defunct Western film set to the Manson Family as they hatched their plans for Helter Skelter. The whole situation was pretty fucked up, and not just because the Manson family sat around the ranch knitting vests out of human hair and plotting murders.

According to Slashfilm, the 80-year-old Spahn let Manson and his acolytes live on the ranch rent-free in exchange for sex from the Manson girls, who also doted on him and cooked him meals. Spahn even gave Manson follower Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme her nickname, because she supposedly let out a squeak whenever Spahn grabbed her.

Dern has spent the last few years playing confused and sometimes creepy old dudes, so he seems like a fitting replacement for Reynolds in the role. The guy has also already proved his ability to work inside Tarantino's directorial vision after his brilliant supporting roles in The Hateful Eight and Django Unchained.

Dern will join Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's almost laughably stacked cast list, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Kurt Russell, Timothy Olyphant, Lena Dunham, and so, so, so, many more. The film is currently in production and slated to hit theaters July 29 of next year.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow VICE on Twitter.