The Triumphant Return of Banjo Boy

Deliverance banjo boy reappears for new film:

The actor who starred as the banjo player in the hillbilly thriller Deliverance is to appear with the instrument in Tim Burton's new movie.

Billy Redden was 16 when Deliverance was made in 1972, but he hasn't appeared on screen since then. He was found working as a cook and dishwasher in a cafe in Dillard, northeast Georgia, by members of Burton's production crew, says the New Yorker.

Burton, who was on location in Alabama shooting Big Fish, said he wanted Redden for the film. He said: "The banjo boy was such an iconic figure to me. Whatever that visceral thing is in film, when you can't explain why a scene grabs you - well, that scene had it."

Redden was hesitant about appearing in the film because he hadn't liked Burt Reynolds during the making of Deliverance. Redden said: "He wasn't polite. And he made us look real bad. He said on television that all people in Rabun County do is watch cars go by and spit."

Redden didn't actually play the banjo in Deliverance. Director John Boorman had to use another boy to hide behind the swing Redden was on and slip his hand through Redden's sleeve to finger the changes. In Big Fish, due out next month, Redden is on screen for only a few seconds with his banjo.

He said: "Tim Burton said, 'Just sit there and hold that banjo, that's it.' He was a real nice guy, a lot nicer than Burt Reynolds."

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11 Responses:

  1. This rocks:

    "[Burt Reynolds] wasn't polite. And he made us look real bad. He said on television that all people in Rabun County do is watch cars go by and spit."

    That's a level of honesty it's hard to find any more. His concern is not that he was slandered or libeled. And I'm not even suggesting he doesn't know those words. He accepts that the description might be true. His problem is that it was impolite to say it on national television.

    And he's right.

    • jwz says:

      However, I find it disturbing that he didn't actually play the banjo! Is there no integrity left anywhere?

      • Maybe it's just me, but if I were going to go looking for integrity, I wouldn't exactly start in Hollywood any time in the 20th century...

        • kfringe says:

          Why not? I would think it would be pretty easy to find there. Just think of the contrast!

          • You're one of those people who thinks that the most important part of layout is whitespace, right?

            • kfringe says:

              I've never really though about it. I suppose I usually do prefer the whitespace to the content, if that's what you mean. In fact, I believe most communication could be improved by substituting whitespace in place of the content -- often in place of the person who created the content.

              But that's just me.

  2. grahams says:

    Appropriate choice of music. :)

  3. thought of YOU this weekend while using the genie:" />

  4. cyantist says:

    My boyfriend insisted that I watch Deliverance a few weeks ago. He couldn't believe I had not seen it and insisted that it was a "must see".

    Before the movie was over, I had to send him to the store to get stuff for my stomach. That movie made me so ill.

    I still have nightmares about banjo boy.