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Ariel Winter on ‘The Last Movie Star’ and Burt Reynolds

The old Burt Reynolds can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because the Cosmo centerfold is dead, reborn an octogenarian giving the most Oscar-worthy performance of his career. In The Last Movie Star, the 82-year-old actor is Vic Edwards, a screen legend misled into accepting a dowdy millennial film festival’s Lifetime Achievement award. Chauffeured around Nashville by Lil (played by Modern Family’s Ariel Winter), Vic detours into east Tennessee, where he takes a trip down memory lane.

A genre bending tale, The Last Movie Star isn’t a comedy, drama, dramedy or satire. It’s life. Reynold’s life. Vic was a stuntman who became a film star. Vic romanced Hollywood’s most eligible bachelorettes. Vic made a series of flops between striking box office gold. Vic. Burt. One syllable names. He visits a nursing home to meet the love he gave up for a life of womanizing, visits his childhood home and visits the old college football field where he was a rising star jock. And as Vic befriends an unlikely younger woman coming into adulthood, we learn a second revelation: 20-year-old Winter can really act, starring in her very first grown-up role.

“I’ve been on Modern Family for 9 years now. Next year will be our 10th,” Winter said. “It’s been an incredible show, and I love my character and the people I work with. It is nice though to have that little departure where I get to play something different and be somewhere different. That’s what we do as actors. We want to portray as many different things as possible. We want to have many different experiences and do our jobs. Hopefully, it will lead to more, and I’ll play different roles.”

In the most experimental film since Get Out, cult favorite screenwriter-director Adam Rifkin wrote a fan fiction screenplay having never talked to Reynolds, and sent him an unsolicited copy. Winter headlines as Lil, “A character dependent on a rainbow coalition of psycho pharmaceuticals,” he said. “She’s anxious, depressed and suicidal. And the last thing she wants to do is spend a weekend with some crabby old dude.”

Winter described Lil as an independent character, who “doesn’t have a lot of people supporting her. She is able to do everything on her own, and she is supporting herself, learning how to become a strong woman. I think it’s a nice character for young women because we have a lot of action heroes that are women kicking butt and fighting, but there’s also normal young women who aren’t doing that, living their lives and learning to overcome struggles. [Lil] starts off confident, but a little insecure. She’s got that terrible boyfriend who doesn’t treat her very well. She’s struggling, trying to better herself, but she doesn’t know how. I think it’s an accurate depiction of real people.” Continue reading “Ariel Winter on ‘The Last Movie Star’ and Burt Reynolds”