Happy ending for film banjo player

NEW YORK, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Eagle-eyed audiences may recognize the porch-dwelling banjo player in the new film "Big Fish" as the same musician from the 1972 film "Deliverance."

"I loved that (Director Tim Burton) was so passionate about finding him," "Big Fish" star Ewan McGregor told reporters in New York recently.


He then explained how Billy Redden didn't know how to play the banjo in the John Boorman film, noting a musician actually had to sit behind Redden and play the instrument for him.

"They sent two of our (assistant directors) out to find him," the actor continued. "Someone said he might be in this town, so they drove off and found Billy. I am best friends with John Boorman's son Charley, so there was this vague link somewhere. (Billy) works in this restaurant and he was worried about taking the time off of work and he was worried he would lose his job, so Tim phoned the restaurant owner up himself."

McGregor said that after "Deliverance," Redden was dying to learn how to play the instrument for real.


"But his father died when he was very young and his mother sold the banjo to pay the bills," McGregor related. "He woke up one morning and the banjo was gone and so all these years later he is asked to play the banjo in this film and he said, 'Is it all right if I get the banjo?'"

McGregor said Burton presented Redden with his beloved banjo at the end of the production.

Latest Headlines