Paul Thomas Anderson has talked in the past about how difficult it was to work with Burt Reynolds on Boogie Nights. As PTA put it, “It was tough. Really tough,” mostly because he was a very greed director and Reynolds was an old pro, “slumming it” for a career comeback boost.
Now Reynolds is making the interview rounds to promote his new memoir (H/T to HitFix for this roundup of quotes), and he’s been saying pretty much all the same things Anderson said, but oh wow does he say it a whole lot less nicely. He told Jonathan Ross Boogie Nights “wasn’t a fun picture,” in large part because it had to do with pornography, a subject he doesn’t think very highly of. He told The Guardian,
I don’t like those people, I feel like they are due for a very hard time because they tried to do legitimate film and they’re never going to be able to. It’s sad, they were very sad people and they showed up a lot of times on set. It’s a one-way street, if you go down that road as an actor, you’re finished.And in regard to Paul Thomas Anderson, well… the old mustache is more than a little patronizing. He told GQ the two didn’t fit, “personality-wise.” Mostly because, as Reynolds makes it sound, he’s a respectable actor and PTA was a stupid know-it-all kid. So, yeah, patronizing.
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.
Reynolds says he “hated” working on Boogie Nights so much he’s never seen the movie, he fired his agent after filming, and he turned down a role in Magnolia. To be fair, he also says that during shooting, Mark Wahlberg walked around set with a giant fake erection, so sure, I’ll give Reynolds that one. That sounds like a less than ideal workspace.