Burt Reynolds reported to be filming soon in Bradenton
Florida's favorite acting son Burt Reynolds will co-star in an inspirational movie to be filmed around Bradenton, according to a Variety report.
Filming will begin April 20, according to producer Joe Restaino, a former director of the Gasparilla International Film Festival.
And Then There Was Light tells a fictional story about a sightless girl paired with a seeing eye miniature horse. Reynolds, 80, will portray a service animal trainer making possible the unusual relationship.
Much of the filming will occur at Southeastern Guide Dogs headquarters, in nearby Palmetto.
Reynolds' participation caps nearly three months of negotiations, according to Restaino.
"We're talking first of December to the end of February before we got a yes," Restaino said by telephone. "He's already paid, man. He's in."
That's a much different situation than the last time Reynolds was expected to join a movie filmed around Tampa Bay. In 2009, local filmmaker Jim Fitzpatrick claimed the actor was set to star in A Fonder Heart, based on a true medical tragedy.
Reynolds contradicted Fitzgerald's claims that the actor was signed, and delayed production by entering rehab for prescription drug addiction. Reynolds' agent claimed his client was being used as bait for investors and other actors. Read that Times article here.
A Fonder Heart never materialized.
Restaino said that won't happen with And Then There Was Light.
Amy Smart (The Single Moms Club) is cast as the blind child's mother. Restaino said more cast announcements, and an e-mail address for applications as extras, are forthcoming.
The project has other Tampa Bay connections beside its filming location. And Then There Was Light is written and directed by Castille Landon, a Bradenton native now living in Los Angeles, who co-starred in last year's locally produced comedy Sex Ed, starring Haley Joel Osment. That film, like And Then There Was Light, is produced by her mother Dori A. (Sperko) Rath of Bradenton and L.A.