AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 12: Actor Burt Reynolds (L) and director Jesse Moss attend the screening of ‘The Bandit’ during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Paramount Theatre on March 12, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW)
Want to meet Burt Reynolds? You can catch the rascal who drove the elusive black Trans-Am in “Smokey and the Bandit” when he receives the “Golden Key for Career Achievement Award” at the fifth annual Key West Film Festival being held November 16-20.
The award to Reynolds, 80, will be accompanied by a screening of a documentary film by Jesse Moss called “The Bandit,” about the 70’s superstar; his best friend, stunt double, and director Hal Needham; and the making of “Smokey and the Bandit.” Moss will be present, as well.
Reynolds spent most of his life in Florida, where he was an All-State football player at Palm Beach High School before playing half-back at Florida State University.
Once his movie career began, he reportedly turned down the roles of 007 James Bond (George Lazenby got the one-off film) and that of Han Solo in “Star Wars,” But after the lead role as Lewis Medlock in 1972’s “Deliverance,” which won the Academy Award for “Best Picture,” and his turn as football playing prisoner Paul Crewe in 1974’s “The Longest Yard,” it was 1977’s “Smokey and the Bandit,” in which he played devil-may-care, CB radio-talkin’, beer smuggler Bo “Bandit” Darville for which he is most celebrated. With trucker Jerry Reed on his side and Jackie Gleason’s Sheriff Buford T. Justice on his tail – and runaway bride Sally Field in the front seat of his Trans-Am – Reynolds sped into the hearts of hillbillyAmerica.
Ultimately Reynolds got plenty of work, including high-profile roles in “Boogie Nights” and the remake of “The Longest Yard,” plus a television series called “Evening Shade.”
As for the setting being the star, despite the relative inaccessibility, there have been a number of major motion pictures filmed in Key West and the other Florida Keys.
“Key Largo,” starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall was released in 1948.
In 1985 Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines dreamed of ditching their dangerous Chicago police jobs to open a bait shop or bar in Key West. The sunny scenes stand in stark contrast to gray, cold Chicago.
Timothy Dalton, as 007, parachuted over the keys in 1988’s “License to Kill,” and scenes from Pierce Brosnan’s “Tomorrow Never Dies” brought 007 there, too. Arnold Schwarzenegger played a spy, too, where the action happened on and over the famed 7-Mile Bridge in 1994’s “True Lies.”
Romance and humor were intertwined in the sunsets and surf with Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt in 2000’s “Heartbreakers;” while no less than Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Streisand, and Robert DeNiro laughed it up in 2004’s “Meet the Fockers.”
The Key West Film Festival includes special event screenings and a curated selection of over 25 feature films encompassing narrative features, costume design, documentaries, foreign language cinema, LGBT cinema and works by Florida filmmakers – both aspiring and established – in order to commune and exchange ideas with each other while showing their work to audiences in an historic and artistically vibrant tropical paradise.
Original Story by Michael Patrick Shiels: Forbes Magazine