When Burt Reynolds passed away earlier this month at the age of 82, he did so before he could film what would have surely been the capstone of his career: A key supporting role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the director’s magnum opus about Los Angeles in the 1960s and the Charles Manson killings. Reynolds would have played George Spahn, a real-life figure who owned a ranch that rented to movie productions as a shooting location. He also allowed Manson and his Family to live on the property, in exchange for certain ... favors from his followers. Reynolds had been cast as Spahn but died before he could shoot his scenes.

Reynolds really would have been perfect for the part, but Tarantino has found a solid replacement. Deadline reports that Bruce Dern will now take over the role of Spahn. Dern knows a thing or two about Hollywood in this period; he was there as a key member of the budding New Hollywood scene. And he gave an unforgettable performance in Tarantino’s last movie, The Hateful Eight, as a racist Confederate general. So the two already are already familiar with each other and work together well.

Dern joins an incredible cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie (playing Sharon Tate), Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, and Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen. It’ll be sad seeing Dern onscreen, knowing it should be Burt. But the show must go on. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens in theaters on July 26, 2019.

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