|A fan interpretation of Burt Reynolds as Han Solo. Newly discovered test footage will give us a rare insight into the role that Reynolds ultimately turned down!|
It would be the dream part that ultimately slipped his grasp, of which he later told the world he regretted not accepting it when he had the chance. Yep, one of the most popular actors of the seventies film world, Burt Reynolds, stars of Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run and the like was actually offered the now iconic role of Han Solo, and turned it down. Not realising how successfully re-invented the sci-fi genre would be by George Lucas-a name that Reynolds was only partially aware of from the cult hit turned mega-success American Graffiti in 1974, the actor saw the western genre/Japanese celebration influences inherent in the early film but saw a lot of technical gobbledygook he wasn't familiar with-way beyond the kind of stuff he'd seen in the likes of STAR TREK. He sluggishly attended a California-based meeting with the director via the movies 1975 Casting Director, Vic Ramos. What hasn't been revealed over the years, though, is the fact that, though he ultimately turned the part down, Reynolds did do a screen test for the film, from one of the directors early 1975 script drafts, before commencing work on what would ultimately be his next film: the flop Lucky Lady, which would ultimately have production design input from the late John Barry.
Existing in deteriorating but watchable VHS tape (and found in its once used state as a door stop) during a clearout of an old shed at the once Parkhouse home of George Lucas, this incredible and fascinating screen test material footage will be fully released on an eventual Blu-ray/DVD, but LUCASFILM have kindly released a sneak peek at the intriguing B/W footage, which clearly shows how a slightly ill at ease, but watchable, Reynolds would have made an older, but no less cocky, Corellian space pilot.
Check it out here: burt reynolds test info