Ed Burns Reflects On How He Broke Into Hollywood While Working at ET (Exclusive)

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Ed Burns and Entertainment Tonight go way back! Before his big breakthrough with the indie hit The Brothers McMullen, Burns had a gig as a production assistant with the entertainment news series while working on making his passion project a reality.

ET's Rachel Smith recently spoke with Burns about his new project, the TV series Bridge and Tunnel -- which he is writing, directing and producing -- and he looked back at his time on the show over 25 years ago.

"From I think '90 to '94, my job was to carry all the gear to interview almost every celebrity that came through New York," Burns reflected. 

In 1995, Burn's debut project The Brothers McMullen -- which he wrote, directed and starred in -- debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, and ET came along for the ride to support the burgeoning filmmaker at the acclaimed festival.

"I'm a little nervous!" Burns admitted to ET back in 1995. "Two weeks ago I was nothing and now all the sudden I'm a hot shot filmmaker, so go figure."

As it turns out, it was through working at Entertainment Tonight that Burns managed to get the attention of the Sundance Film Festival's founder, Robert Redford

Redford sat down with ET in 1994 at a junket promoting his drama Quiz Show, and Burns made sure not to miss his shot.

"We were interviewing him and I decided to bring a, you know, a VHS copy of my film with me to that Interview," Burns recalled of the fortuitous day. "The interview ended and I cut Redford off at the elevator and gave him the tape and him and the team watched it and we got accepted into the Sundance Film Festival."

As for his new project, Bridge and Tunnel, the '80s dramedy series follows a group of college grads pursuing their big city dreams in New York, away from their Long Island families.

Burns and his wife, Christy Turlington, are parents to two teens -- 17-year-old daughter Grace and 14-year-old son Finn -- and college isn't far off for them either.

"It's funny when I was writing those scenes I was not thinking about that," Burns said. "[But] that's clearly something that's going on with me."

Bridge and Tunnel debuts Jan. 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on EPIX.

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