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Paul Thomas Anderson Admits Feuding With Burt Reynolds Made ‘Boogie Nights’ A Stronger Movie

Sometimes a little on set friction goes a long way.

The feud between Paul Thomas Anderson and Burt Reynolds during the making of “Boogie Nights” has been discussed before, specifically by Burt Reynolds. The actor told GQ in a 2015 interview that Anderson was “young and full of himself” during the film’s production, which resulted in a clash of personalities on set. Now Anderson has weighed in on his side of the story in an interview with The Ringer’s Bill Simmons.

Anderson says the rumors about his feud with Reynolds are “almost true,” admitting that the two definitely had tension on set. But Anderson doesn’t see the issues he had with Reynolds as much of a problem. Quite the contrary, as the tension between the two facilitated the filming of some of the movie’s most intense scenes.

“I think that when Burt and I kind of got into it, it may have been the day before or the day after, but it was a really tense three days on the set of ‘Boogie Nights,'” Anderson said. “The other 57 days were really fun and a lot of laughs, but there were three tense days there in the middle where Mark was fighting with Burt, or in the film. Looking back, it was really in the nasty part of the movie, too, when really everything’s kind of going wrong.”

When asked if the tension was beneficial, Anderson responded: “I do, I absolutely do. Absolutely.”

“When it’s the good times and everybody’s got their silk disco pants on and everything, we’re having a ball, it’s really fun,” Anderson said. “But when it starts to get cocaine-glossy and hangovers…There’s all that, there’s blood, and the fun of it all was wearing off. It was the middle of summer, it was really hot, and we were all stuck together in that house for a long time, and things were just — they were heated.”

The feud paid off, as both Anderson and Reynolds earned universal acclaim for their work in “Boogie Nights.” Reynolds was even nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Anderson is back in theaters right now with “Phantom Thread.”

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