“Growing up Burt Reynolds was my hero, and I loved his movies, and I loved his persona, I thought he was funny and charming; the biggest movie star in the world,” says filmmaker Adam Rifkin about the inspiration for his new film Dog Years at the Tribeca Film Festival.

In Dog Years, Reynolds, 81, plays a facet of himself, Vic Edwards, a former stunt man-turned-major Hollywood star who agrees to travel to the Nashville Film Festival for a lifetime achievement award. Along the way, he bonds and fights with a punk millennial chauffeur played by Modern Family‘s Ariel Winter. The movie includes archival footage and interviews from Reynolds’ canon.

Says Winter about working opposite the legendary 1970s-80s box office star, “All of his incredible skills when he was just improvising things in the movie, just acting and being himself…It was incredible to witness that.” Chevy Chase also stars in the film as Edwards’ best friend, and as told here by Rifkin, the two had never previously met or worked with each other.

“I wanted to give back something to Burt Reynolds for all of the years of joy he had given me and so many other people. So I wrote Dog Years specifically for Burt. I didn’t know him, but I hoped that I wrote a script that he liked, that he’d agreed to star in it.”

When trying to get Reynolds aboard, Rifkin’s specific plea to the legend’s manager: “If Burt doesn’t want to do the movie, I’m not making it.”

Dog Years is playing at the Tribeca Film Festival at these specific dates and times.

XYZ Films is handling domestic and foreign sales for the pic.