Burt Reynolds Wraps Filming on DOG YEARS

Never one to rest on his laurels, Florida's favorite son, Burt Reynolds, spent the month of June in Knoxville, Tennessee, filming his latest movie. Dog Years, written and directed by Adam Rifkin, is the story of an aging former movie star who is forced to face the reality that his GLORY days are behind him. Rifkin wrote the script especially for Reynolds and described the story by saying, "On the surface, Dog Years is a tale of faded fame, but at its core, it's a universal story about growing old."

In the movie, Reynolds plays aging movie actor, Vic Edwards, who is invited to a NASHVILLE film festival to accept a lifetime achievement award. Events do not turn out as expected so he asks his designated driver, played by Ariel Winter, to take him to Knoxville, the place where he was born and raised. The 62-year age difference between Reynolds and Winter is a focal point of the movie.

Ariel Winter is known to audiences for her role as Alex Dunphy on the television series Modern Family. The cast includes Kathleen Nolan, Juston Street, Ellar Coltrane, Clark Duke, Shelley Waggener and Al-Jaleel Knox. A special guest appearance is being made by popular actor/comedian/writer Chevy Chase. Also in the cast is Burt Reynolds Institute Executive Director Todd Vittum. Vittum, who is an experienced performer and improvisation teacher plays Buddy Blump, owner of Blump Industries and father of the bride at the Blump/Delson wedding. He offered a little teaser for Reynolds' fans, "Vic Edwards crashes the wedding and winds up singing!" Former Oilers' and Falcons' Coach Jerry Glanville plays the father of the groom.

Not to be outdone by more well-known actors, several students and fans of the man still known affectionately as The Bandit to movie lovers were also cast in speaking roles and as extras. Amy Hoerler, a student in Reynolds' master class at the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre, plays the role of a young nurse. Actor/comedienne Chesta Drake, a woman with an abundance of southern charm, portrays a fan who unexpectedly runs into Reynolds' in a supermarket. Tabitha Hall and Sabrina Taylor, two Tennessee girls who are huge Burt Reynolds Institute supporters, got to spend a few minutes in front of the cameras as extras.

In Dog Years, the character of Vic Edwards is a former running back at the University of Tennessee. The parallel to Reynolds' own life is easily drawn since he did play football at Florida State University in the 1950s. A lifelong fan of college football, the man still known as The Bandit to his legions of fans, was happy to "talk the game" with UT head coach Butch Jones and former UT coast Johnny Majors, both of whom visited the set. Also stopping by to say hello were long time friends and fellow actors John Schneider and Catherine Bach. Schneider played Bo Duke and Bach played Daisy Duke in the popular 1970s tv series the Dukes of Hazzard. In 2005, Reynolds portrayed crooked county commissioner Boss Hoggs in the movie based on the show.

While some exterior scenes were shot in Los Angeles, the majority of the movie was filmed in Knoxville giving the friendly community an opportunity to shine. Market Square, Neyland Stadium, the Henley Bridge, a Kingston Pike synagogue and a retirement home all play pivotal roles in the story. Producer Neil Mandt was often heard to say that the people of Knoxville were "... incredibly supportive."

Shooting on Dog Years is expected to wrap the first week of July. At that time, Reynolds will return to another job he loves-teaching is students at the Burt Reynolds Institute. During his month long stay in Tennessee, he continually send them inspirational messages, saying that he missed them and encouraging them to continue working hard.

Dog Years is expected to be released in the fall. For updates, visit http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5836316/

Photos property of Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre

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