Burt Reynolds hated interviews. They were a necessary evil for the iconic movie star. If he had to show up and promote some of his work, he’d do it. Otherwise? Count him out. It was a constant throughout his storied, up-and-down six-decade career. Burt Reynolds: The Last Interview is exactly what it advertises — the final sit-and-chat with Reynolds, filmed just months before his death in 2018. It was the last piece of the puzzle when director Rick Pamplin was putting together his film about independent film financing, Movie Money Confidential, and a mutual connection brought the filmmaker and actor together.
Reynolds’ interview was the best part of Movie Money Confidential, and Pamplin has edited it together with additional bookends to craft a thoughtful, substantive final word from the actor on a range of topics, including his work with up-and-coming performers in Jupiter, Florida.
Fans of Reynolds will find plenty to enjoy here. Anecdotes about past classics (such as Deliverance), his early life and philosophical musings on the business and process of acting all play a part. He speaks approvingly of Black Panther (then just released) and how it was overdue. His disdain for the Hollywood system is as apparent as his love for his craft. Even at the end of his life, with so many career ups and downs, Reynolds knows what made him appealing as a movie star. There’s very little gossip to be had (nothing is mentioned of his well-known feuds), although at one point he does joke about Charlton Heston’s complete lack of coordination off-camera.
The interview isn’t terribly long and is supplemented by a few other interviews. Andrew Kato of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre (formerly Burt Reynolds’ dinner theater) talks about his time working with Reynolds as an up-and-comer; Michelle Hillery and Chuck Elderd of the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission speak glowingly of his role in building their local slice of the industry. Most interesting to average moviegoers is the interview with Quentin Tarantino, a lifelong fan of Reynolds who had cast him in Once Upon and Time … in Hollywood but could not film Reynolds’ scenes before the actor passed away. Tarantino speaks glowingly of his brief time working with his idol and lays claim to his last performance, at the full-cast table read.
Reynolds was an icon for a reason, and The Last Interview does him justice by focusing on the legacy he left with fans, coworkers and the community he called home.