Car movies are notorious for being tough on the very vehicles that give them their allure. Two of the most high-octane films of 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road and Furious 7, each burned through hundreds (Furious 7 alone destroyed a reported 230 cars), but they’re far from the first to do so. Burt Reynolds recently revealed the ridiculous number of Pontiac Trans Ams they went through filming 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit.
The 79-year-old ‘70s and ‘80s heartthrob made a rare public appearance over the weekend at Wizard World Chicago. During a Q&A session on Saturday, filmed by ComicBook.com, a fan asked how many Trans Ams they burned through during production. Reynolds replied:
We went through 12. I'm afraid I was responsible for a good few of those.
You might think that seeing their cars routinely destroyed on movie screens across the country would give the manufacturer pause, but that is not the case at all. In fact, after Smokey and the Bandit became a box office hit, Pontiac saw a marked increase in their stock prices. The value of their stock rose a startling 70 percent after the film’s release, and to show their appreciation to Reynolds, the president said they would give the actor a new car each and every year.
That’s all well and good, and it worked smooth as silk for a good while. So, for years one, two, and three, he got a shiny new Pontiac. Not a bad deal, but on the fourth year, no new car. Somewhere along the line, the company acquired a new president who told Reynolds:
I’m the new president, and I don’t like your movies.
I have to admit, that’s a pretty fantastic story, and as a major movie star, I’m sure Burt Reynolds was able to figure out another way to acquire a means of transportation. Check out the entire video below.
If you somehow managed to miss Smokey and the Bandit in the years between the film’s 1977 release and now, you should rectify that situation immediately (to be fair, it was released two days after Star Wars, so it’s understandable if it slipped through the cracks). It follows the adventures of a couple of truck drivers bootlegging Coors, which couldn’t legally be sold East of the Mississippi River at the time. Cledus "Snowman" Snow (Jerry Reed) drives the truck while his good buddy Bo "Bandit" Darville (Reynolds) serves as the "blocker," a fast car used to divert police attention away from payload. Along the way they tussle with tough as nails Texas Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), pick up a runaway bride nicknamed Frog (Sally Field), and have all kinds of awesome times on the highway. It’s amazing, you should watch it.
Burt Reynolds may be 79, but he shows no signs of slowing down. He has no less than four movies listed as coming out, and they run the gamut from romantic drama to family comedy to horror mystery to action thriller. The man does get around.