Burt Reynolds Turned Down a Part in ‘The Godfather’ Because of Marlon Brando

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There’s nothing like a feud to ruin your day…or your dream job. This exact thing happened to Hollywood actor Burt Reynolds. He claims it didn’t quite ruin his day, in fact, he played the whole thing pretty cool. But during the casting of The Godfather, there was a bit of drama with another actor, Marlon Brando.

Once upon a time, the directors of The Godfather were considering casting the late Burt Reynolds for the role of Michael Corleone in the movie. There was one tiny thing that stood in the way of this becoming a reality. It was the fact that Marlon Brando despised Burt Reynold’s guts. So much so, that Brando once decided to rip apart Reynolds while on the set of Apocalypse Now, stating, “He (Reynolds) is the epitome of something that makes me want to throw up. He is the epitome of everything that is disgusting about the thespian, he worships at the temple of his own narcissism.”

Talk about quite a feud. Which seems like it might have had something to do with the outcome of the movie. Brando even went as far as to say that he was going to quit the film if Reynolds played Michael Corleone or any other role in the movie. But, Reynolds was allegedly “flattered” by the fact that Brando was so upset by the potential of his presence in the box office hit. So, as we all know, Reynolds was not in the film. Michael Corleone was ultimately played by Al Pacino.

This wasn’t the first or last of very successful films that the movie star passed on. In an interview on “Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live” he discussed having passed on the roles of Han Solo in Star Wars, the Pretty Woman role which went to Richard Gere, and even Jack Nicholson’s role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Randle).

He also explained how he turned down the opportunity to play the original James Bond because he thought that an American should not have taken on the role. When asked if he regretted it, he responded he did. Reynolds was also set to star in Nicholson’s role in Terms of Endearment, for which Nicholson won another Oscar. Safe to say the actor regretted turning down a few roles, but The Godfather was definitely not one of them.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 28, 2019.

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