The 9th film from Quentin Tarantino.
After six months of working – from June to November of 2018 – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is done and ready to be released this summer in America, on the 26th of July.
The film tells the story of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) – a once well-known actor trying to be famous again – and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), in a Hollywood that is changing. They happen to be neighbors of Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), during the time she will be murdered by Charles Manson’s followers, but not be mislead by the Manson’s topic. As Micheal Madsen said: ”it’s about the sixties”.
After four years since The Hateful Eight, Tarantino comes back on the big screen with this highly anticipated dark comedy.
These are six reasons why we should be excited about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
1. Unbelievable Cast
This could be the biggest cast ever in a Quentin Tarantino movie. And maybe the best one.
Of course, we can’t wait to see Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt acting together for the first time. DiCaprio stars as Rick Dalton, a former actor of the western tv series Bounty Law, while Pitt plays Cliff Booth, Rick Dalton’s stunt double.
DP Robert Richardson – who has been working with Tarantino since Kill Bill, except in Death Proof – said that they are “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, contemporary versions”. Just from the first part of the trailer – a black and white behind the scene interview of the two in a fictional set – we see that there is chemistry between them.
Another actor we are anxious to see is the mighty Al Pacino: this will be his first appearance in a Tarantino’s movie. He portrays Marvin Schwarzs, an Hollywood producer and Rick Dalton’s agent.
Again, DP Robert Richardson – referring to Pacino’s role – delighted us with two beautiful words: “remarkable monologues”. It seems like the part was cut specially for him, starring as a producer, a man of power – just like the other men of power he portrayed in the past – with his double breasted blue suit.
After the unforgettable performance in “I, Tonya”, this could be a cornerstone role for Margot Robbie, who portrays Sharon Tate, at the time pregnant and married to director Roman Polanski. Tate was murdered by proselytes of Charles Manson in her home.
Damon Herriman plays the infamous Charles Manson, cult leader of the so-called “Manson Family” and murderer, while Dakota Fanning stars as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a follower of Manson, who attempted to assassinate U.S. president Gerald Ford.
One of the highlight of the teaser trailer was, undoubtedly, Mike Moh starring as Bruce Lee. It seamed like the Hong Kong-American actor and martial artist master was resurrected in order to appear on the big screen again. Bruce Lee was the choreographer in the fight scenes for Wrecking Crew – starred by Sharon Tate -and attended her funeral.
Moreover, this couldn’t be a Tarantino’s movie without some of his frequent collaborators: Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Kurt Russell and Zoë Bell will all have minor undisclosed roles.
A bittersweet note: we’ll have the opportunity to experience the last performance by the late Luke Perry, who portrays the real actor Wayne Maunder.
2. Background Stories
The hippie revolution is at its peak; the counterculture movement, preaching peace and love, has conquered millions on young people. The “summer of love” is coming and the Woodstock Festival will be the testimony of that change. Meanwhile, Charles Manson is gathering faithful adepts in a violent and psychedelic drugs-infused cult, distorting the messages of the hippies.
Hollywood is witnessing its own revolution: the golden era of American cinema is coming to an end, while upcoming rebel directors take the lead of the industry, shaping a new wave of filmmakers, that will be called New Hollywood. These are the background stories of Once Upon a time in Hollywood. Quentin Tarantino sets the bar high with these premises.
It was obvious that this screenplay would cause outrage and scandal: everybody knows the movie style of Tarantino and many people thought that it wasn’t suitable for this heavy matter. Fortunately, Charles Manson is just a part of the story.
Manson was a cult leader and – under his influence – some of his followers, united in the “Manson Family”, killed Sharon Tate, her unborn child and five guests at her house. The night after, other followers – with Manson himself – killed the married couple Leno and Rosemary LaBianca at their house. The Manson’s murders are widely considered as the end of the idealism of the sixties.
It’ll be fascinating to see how Tarantino decided to portray the hippie movement, a strange and contradictory movement, that stuck together pacifism and spiritualism, drugs and oriental culture. The hippie movement was also political and, maybe, the director will use this movie to describe a part of American history, just like he did with Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. Of course, with his own flavor.
Similarly and most importantly, the movie will show Tarantino’s take on Hollywood in a crucial moment of its life. Most of the filmmakers that inspired Tarantino throughout his career started making movies in that period. People like Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese and William Friedkin.
The new Hollywood movement was crucial in the artistic upbringing of Tarantino and this will be clearly central in the movie. Talking about Hollywood is not always a good idea for a filmmaker, but Tarantino will be able, without a doubt, to get away with it.
3. Blast From The Past
This would be a blast from the past for Quentin Tarantino. Since 1997 – the release year of Jackie Brown – all his movies were set outside Los Angeles.
The town he grew up in is going to be an important part of the movie. We can expect that it will be a “main character” of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Last summer, many spots, streets and blocks in Los Angeles were completely transformed, in order to be coherent with the era the movie is set. Like a time capsule, the city was invaded by 60’s style, from the cars to the fronts of the buildings; Los Angeles came back in time and witnessed again its psychedelic past of the late 1960’s.
Tarantino tried to represent his own personal version of what the city meant to him; he wants you to take a journey through the places he passed through and lived during all these years in Los Angeles.
The L.A. setting is not the only aspect that recalls the past of the American filmmaker. During his appearance – alongside Leonardo DiCaprio – at the 2018 CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Tarantino talked about the similarities between his new movie and his 1994 masterpiece Pulp Fiction: “This is probably the closest to Pulp Fiction I’ve done, (…) that really is a Los Angeles movie and it deals with a couple of lead characters”. Pulp Fiction was the breakthrough movie for him, it solidified his cult status and his trademark style, in terms of film structure, screenplay and themes.
By the way, Leo DiCaprio added that this screenplay is “one of the most amazing screenplay he’s ever written”. We can’t ask him for more.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood couldn’t be more hyped after these comments. Another great reason to rush in movie theaters this summer.