MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – The legendary actor Burt Reynolds is in Tampa Bay area this week shooting his latest film. The iconic tough guy is taking on a nicer image, doing a movie that features a beloved Manatee County nonprofit.
The movie features Southeastern Guide Dogs, which provides animals for the visually impaired. The film is meant to help viewers understand the difficulties these people go through and the movie is going to be a big boost for this nonprofit as well.
Even at 80, Burt Reynolds is still just as cool as ever. But for his latest movie being shot in Manatee County, he decided to shed his tough guy image.
Reynolds said, “I haven’t done a picture in a long time that’s a real family sweet picture. And I needed to do one, I can’t keep jumping off of buildings….I’m too old for that.”
So he’s leading an all-star cast in the film, ‘And Then There Was Light.’ It tells the tale of a young girl who loses her eyesight. She regains her independence through a trained animal she receives from southeastern guide dogs.
Director Castille Landon said, “This is a reality for a lot of people. Almost 300 million people have visual impairments and it’s not something we think about every day. Or really any day and it could happen to anyone.”
There were seven dogs used in the movie. These dogs are already specially trained to be around crowds and follow commands, so shooting a movie with them was easy. But the film also features miniature horses, and many of the cast and crew said they were a pain in the neck.
This movie is great exposure for Southeastern Guide Dogs and the Tampa Bay area. For some of those involved here, this project hits close to home. The director and many of the actors are from Florida or the Tampa Bay area.
“I also wrote this script specifically for here,” said Landon. “I think everyone who watches it will be more grateful and realize what they have.”
And for Reynolds, this is personal. He had a high school friend who went blind.
He said, ‘When it happened he faced it with such bravery and class I only wish that I had that kind of class.”
It’s a good film with a good cause. Some of the proceeds from the movie will be donated to Southeastern Guide Dogs to help support its mission.
The crew will be shooting the movie around the Bradenton area over the next week. It’s unclear at this time when the movie will be released to theaters.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON RIGHT NOW:
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