Burt Reynolds, 81, is playing opposite Ariel Winter of “Modern Family” fame in the new, cross-generational comedy “Dog Years.” The film recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film was written and directed by Adam Rifkin and stars Reynolds as a once famous Hollywood actor, now a little down on his luck and badly affected by the death of his beloved dog. His character returns to his home town to receive a lifetime achievement award, but he is disappointed with the visit. Reynolds' character then takes off on a road trip with his young driver, played by a surprisingly foul-mouthed Ariel Winter.

‘Dog Years’ written specifically for Burt Reynolds

Rifkin told The Hollywood Reporter than he wrote the film specifically for Reynolds, who he says has been his hero since he was a child.

The film even includes some archival footage of Reynolds and he sent the finished script to Reynolds' manager with the hope that the actor would say yes. He said he was thrilled when Reynolds phoned him the next day and said he was in. Rifkin went ahead and approached the rights holders to ask permission to use the archival footage and everyone was in agreement.

In the film "Dog Years," both Reynolds’ and Winter’s characters are at a pivotal moment in their lives. Reynolds’ character, Vic, is looking back at a lifetime of mistakes, while the young, and rather cynical, Lil (played by Winter) is at the stage where she is going to make mistakes all her own.

Rifkin said that growing old, looking back on our lives and passing on experience and knowledge to the next generation is a universal theme.

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He said “Dog Years” is about the mistakes everyone makes, but also about finding forgiveness and realizing it’s never too late to change your outlook on life.

Robert de Niro helped Burt Reynolds on the red carpet

At the premiere of the film at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night, Reynolds needed a little help from an old friend as he was reportedly struggling to walk. Robert De Niro was the friend who gave him a chair on the red carpet, allowing him to speak to the media about his new film.

The StarTribune reports that Reynolds was thrilled at the turnout for the new comedy and was really pleased to see De Niro, who he reportedly loves, as well as all the other people he knew at the event. He said it was “very sweet.” Reynolds also said he sees many similarities between the character he played in “Dog Years” and his own life.

However, Reynolds laughingly said he guesses he is doing all right, because the premiere was a “hell of a turnout.” Speaking of his young co-star, Winter, Reynolds joked that you don’t learn anything from young actors, you simply tell them how to behave.

Speaking of Ariel herself, she recently spoke on “The View” about her experience of working with Reynolds on "Dog Years." She thoroughly enjoyed working with the Hollywood actor and said even though he’s 81, he acts like he is only 30. That interview is included below.