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Nick Newman - Burt Reynold's amateur performance

Features | By Nick Newman

Above: Imelda Staunton, Alistair Petrie, Burt and Derek Jacobi

Nick Newman was thrilled to sign Burt Reynolds for his film. If only Burt had remembered his lines and hadn’t spent so much on wigs

When we saw the giant ‘idiot boards’, we knew there was trouble. Arriving on the set of our small British movie A Bunch of Amateurs, we had been warned that our star, Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds, had ‘problems’. That morning, he had demanded that the stunt co-ordinator be fired. There were problems with Burt’s wigs – of which more later. But the most pressing issue for us as writers was that our leading man couldn’t remember his lines. This did not bode well for the scenes in which he had to perform long speeches from King Lear. ...

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