Mark Wahlberg Recalls Burt Reynolds’ Blunt Behavior on Boogie Nights: ‘Don’t You Ever Laugh at Me Kid!

Boogie Nights stars Mark Wahlberg and Burt Reynolds got off on the wrong foot when their characters first met at the restaurant.

Boogie Nights
New Line Cinema


 Burt Reynolds didn’t appreciate Mark Wahlberg laughing at him during their characters’ first meeting in Boogie Nights.
Wahlberg was not only surprised by Reynolds’ Irish accent, which made him bust out laughing, but also the veteran actor’s reluctance to embrace the movie’s potential.
Reynolds’ performance as pornographic filmmaker Jack Horner earned the actor the only Oscar nomination of his illustrious career.

“Don’t you ever laugh at me, kid!” This is how the late Burt Reynolds reacted when Mark Wahlberg chuckled at one of his lines of dialogue in Boogie Nights (1997). Reynolds (Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit) was at one time a preeminent Hollywood A-lister, but his career was in a bit of a funk when he joined the cast of director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights. And when Reynolds decided to use an Irish accent for his character, porn filmmaker Jack Horner, Wahlberg made the mistake of laughing at the veteran actor.

Wahlberg recounted that rough scene with Reynolds, while promoting his new film Arthur the King, in an interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. Wahlberg said:

“I remember the first day… [Reynolds] comes in. And Paul [Thomas Anderson] comes to me. We’re about to shoot the scene where we meet in the dishwashing… in the back of the kitchen. And Paul goes, ‘Um, you know, Burt came to me, and he doesn’t really understand my rhythm of writing. So, he wants to use an Irish accent.’ I was like, ‘What?’”

Boogie Nights

Release DateOctober 7, 1997
DirectorPaul Thomas Anderson
CastLuis Guzman , Burt Reynolds , Julianne Moore , Rico Bueno , John C. Reilly , Nicole Ari Parker

WritersPaul Thomas Anderson
StudioNew Line Cinema
TaglineThe life of a dreamer. The days of business. And the nights in between.

Wahlberg continued:

“[Anderson says], ‘Yeah he thinks this is going to be more helpful to kind of find the character and just go with it.’ I thought he was just pulling my leg, right? I’m like, ‘Okay, actory shamactory.’ Maybe they’re just trying to keep me on my toes or whatever. All a sudden, [imitating Burt Reynolds’ Irish accent] ‘Oh you’re a dancer aren’t you?’ And I go, ‘What the f—?’ I started laughing. [imitating Reynolds again] ‘Don’t you ever laugh at me kid!’ I was like, ‘Oh sh—… what the f—?’

Burt Reynold’s Complicated Relationship with Boogie Nights


Boogie Nights with Burt Reynolds directing Mark WahlbergBurt Reynolds filming with William H. Macy in Boogie NightsBurt Reynolds as Jack Horner at an awards ceremony in Boogie Nights

Burt Reynolds may not have appreciated making Paul Thomas Anderson’s film at the time, but Reynolds gives one of his best performances in Boogie Nights. In fact, Reynold’s portrayal of adult filmmaker Jack Horner earned the actor the only Oscar nomination of his illustrious career. But according to co-star Mark Wahlberg, Reynolds just couldn’t see Anderson or Boogie Nights’ potential. Wahlberg said during the same podcast:

“He was the biggest movie star in the world for over a decade […] He just felt like it was so beneath him. He didn’t really understand the potential of this movie, and that it was obviously set in the world of pornography, but it was about some very interesting characters. And it had a lot of potential to be something special, and that Paul was a real talent. And so, he just blew his top a couple of times.”

Boogie Nights movie cast

Boogie Nights was released 25 years ago in theaters, take a look back at its road to the big screen, its impact, and what makes it great.

Wahlberg himself resisted making Boogie Nights, but he was still trying to break loose of his musical persona, which was firmly established during his career as the lead singer of the hip hop group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. In the end, though, it’s clear that both Wahlberg and Reynolds benefited greatly from making Anderson’s dramedy.

Mark Wahlberg and Burt Reynolds’ collaboration on Boogie Nights is available to rent or buy starting at $2.99 on most VOD platforms, including YouTube , Amazon Prime Video , Fandango at Home (formerly Vudu), Apple TV , and Google Play Movies & TV.

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