Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’: release date, trailer, cast, plot and everything you need to know

The Manson murders serve as a backdrop to the film

Following the release of his snowy epic The Hateful Eight in January 2016, Quentin Tarantino is planning the next movie in his oeuvre – his ninth – about the notorious Manson family murders. Though mystery still surrounds elements of the film, we already know a fair bit about it. Here’s the lowdown so far.

What’s the latest news?

  • The first poster for the movie has been released
  • The first full trailer for the movie has been released, showing the fickle nature of Hollywood impacting on the characters before introducing Charles Manson to the fray…
  • The 30+ song soundtrack has been revealed, described as “a love letter to ’60s Hollywood”
  • Tarantino has revealed he’s planning a spin-off TV series of the film

What’s the release date for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood?

‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywoood’ was originally slated for a release coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Sharon Tate’s murder (August 9). However, it’s been moved to a August 14, 2019 release date in the UK, coming a few weeks earlier on July 26 in the US.


Although the release date now avoids coinciding with the anniversary of Tate’s death, The Hollywood Reporter claims that this wasn’t the the reason for the move. Instead, it’s believed that studio bosses have pushed it forward to give it the best chance possible at a crammed summer box office.

It’s since been confirmed that the film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival later this month, marking the latest chapter in Quentin Tarantino’s long-running relationship with the festival. He won the Palm D’Or for 1994’s Pulp Fiction, before premiering the likes of Kill Bill Vol 2 and Inglorious Basterds there.

Cannes’ General Delegate Thierry Fremaux said: “We were afraid the film would not be ready, as it wouldn’t be released until late July, but Quentin Tarantino, who has not left the editing room in four months, is a real, loyal and punctual child of Cannes. Like for Inglourious Basterds, he’ll definitely be there – 25 years after the Palme d’Or for Pulp Fiction – with a finished film screened in 35mm and his cast in tow. His film is a love letter to the Hollywood of his childhood, a rock music tour of 1969, and an ode to cinema as a whole.”

Is there a trailer?

Yes. Two. The full trailer showing Pitt and DiCaprio as Cliff Booth and Rick Dalton, rising and falling with the fickle nature of fame and Hollywood, before they and Margot Robbie (playing Sharon Tate) come into contact with the murderous menace of Charles Manson…

The first official teaser trailer was released on 20 March. It opens with a TV interview with DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters before a series of quick-fire shots that include a look at Damon Herriman as Charles Manson. Watch below.


What’s the plot of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood?

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and its story “takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood”.

On November 17, 2017, Vanity Fair reported via a source who had read the script: “Tarantino’s upcoming movie focuses on a male TV actor who’s had one hit series and his looking for a way to get into the film business. His sidekick — who’s also his stunt double — is looking for the same thing. The horrific murder of Sharon Tate and four of her friends by Charles Manson’s cult of followers serves as a backdrop to the main story.”

It’s been reported that the film will also verge from the ’60s into the ’70s, and it’s expected that Charles Manson’s death will heighten interest in the film. Of all Tarantino’s films, it’s been compared most strongly to Pulp Fiction by sources who’ve read the script.

Deadline describes the film as a “Pulp Fiction-esque tapestry of Los Angeles during the summer of the Manson murders.”

What’s the cast for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood?

In January 2018, Leonardo DiCaprio was reported to have signed on for the film as “an ageing, out-of-work actor” in the movie, according to Variety. And, say Deadline, “What he plays, more specifically, is an actor who had his own Western show, Bounty Law, that ran on the air from 1958 to 1963. His attempt to transition to movies didn’t work out and in 1969 — the film is set at the height of hippy Hollywood movement– he’s guesting on other people’s shows while contemplating going to Italy, which has become a hotbed for low-budget Westerns.”

Deadline has also reported that Brad Pitt will star in the film, portraying Cliff Booth, Dalton’s “longtime stunt double”.

The publication  had previously reported that DiCaprio, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt had been approached for two lead male roles in the film. Variety previously reported that Tarantino also wants to cast Al Pacino, who has now been confirmed to be in the movie. He will play Marvin Shwarz, the agent of DiCaprio’s aging TV star.

Margot Robbie
Margot Robbie

Other additions to the cast include Margot Robbie, who will play Sharon Tate, the actress and model who was married to the director Roman Polanski and who was murdered by member of the ‘Manson Family’ in 1969. Dakota Fanning will play Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, one of Manson’s followers, while Damian Lewis will portray actor Steve McQueen.

It was reported that Burt Reynolds was in talks to play George Spahn before he passed away in September 2018, while The Hateful Eight co-stars Tim Roth, Kurt Russell and Michael Madsen could also have small roles.

When NME asked Marilyn Manson about who should be in the film, he said: “Vincent Gallo, Jeremy Davies… I wouldn’t wanna be in it. It’s too obvious.”

It’s also been confirmed that Inhumans star Mike Moh will join the film as Bruce Lee.

The 45-year-old is known to be a huge fan of the Kung-Fu icon, and praised him on Twitter last month.

As far as Lee’s role goes, it’s believed that it will focus on how Roman Polanski initially wrongly believed that Bruce Lee was responsible for killing Sharon Tate.

Not only that but The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Lena Dunham is joining the cast. This marks her first studio feature and marks her first onscreen role since her HBO show Girls concluded in 2017

Dunham will be joined by Maya Hawke – the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. She’s also set to star in the upcoming third series of Stranger Things. It has yet to be revealed what roles Dunham and Hawke will be playing.

Damon Herriman has been confirmed to be playing Charles Manson, the cult leader of the Manson Family. Herriman has appeared in films like J. Edgar and TV show Justified, in the past.

Is there a poster?

Yep. The first proper poster for the cinematic release was shared on June 11. It features illustrated images of the cast and some scenes shown in the trailer.

Check out the initial poster, featuring Pitt and Di Caprio, below:

On March 19, Robbie shared a new poster which showed her as Tate:

Have we seen any pictures from it?

Yes. Leonardo DiCaprio has given fans a “first look” at the film on his Instagram. In the photo, the actor poses with co-star Brad Pitt in front of a dusty, stone building. Pitt’s Cliff Booth wears double denim and aviator shades, while DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton wears a orange-brown leather jacket, yellow turtleneck, and brown trousers. For now, this is all we’ve seen of the movie.

View this post on Instagram

First look. #OnceUponATimeInHollywood

A post shared by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on

The first image of Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate have also been shared. In the photo, the actor poses in a very ’60s outfit of white boots, white skirt, and black jumper, with long blonde hair. Robbie captioned the picture simply: “First look.” See the photo below.

Also, check out these beautiful photos of Hollywood Blvd transformed back into 1969:

A new slew of official images were released in January. The photos gave fans a closer look at some of the characters, including those played by Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie, and at the ’60s costumes.

When does filming begin?

Production on the film started in mid-2018.

Is the soundtrack to the film going to be released?

Yep! With a 31-song track list, the official soundtrack for ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ comes out on the same day as the film’s US release date (July 26).

Described as “a love letter to the music of 1960s-era Hollywood”, the soundtrack was curated by Tarantino himself, and will come out on CD and vinyl as well as digitally.

View the full tracklisting, featuring Simon & Garfunkel, Deep Purple and more, here.

What other production information is there?

The recently disgraced Harvey Weinstein was involved in all of Tarantino’s previous films, first at Miramax and later with The Weinstein Company. Following the scandal, Tarantino decided to cut ties, leading to a bidding war for #9.

For now it is understood that the film will be distributed by Sony, who beat Paramount and Warner Bros to the rights. Reportedly, Sony’s Tom Rothman impressed Tarantino with his knowledge of film history.

According to Deadline the budget for the film will be in the region of Django Unchained‘s – $100m – which has been called “staggering” when compared to Baby Driver‘s $35m budget. The Hateful Eight had a $44m budget and performed disappointingly at the box office.

Tarantino will also get the final cut on the film. Producers include Harry Potter’s David Heyman, Tarantino himself, and his frequent collaborator Shannon McIntosh. Georgia Kacandes will also work with Tarantino for the second time, serving as executive producer and line producer.

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino has also recently revealed that he’s written a spin-off TV series of ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’.

Speaking to Deadline, the filmmaker said that he’d been penning scripts for a show called Bounty Law, which will be introduced in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as the fictional series Leonardo DiCaprio’s actor character Rick Dalton stars in.

“I really started loving those half hour ’50s Western scripts,” he said. “The idea that you could write something like 24 minutes, where there was so much story crammed in those half hour shows, with a real beginning and a middle and an end.

“Also it was kind of fun because you can’t just keep doubling down and exploring. At some point, you’ve got to wrap it up. I really liked that idea. I’ve written five different episodes for a possible Bounty Law black-and-white half hour Western show.”


Has recent negative press about Tarantino affected the film?

Reportedly, yes. In February 2018 Screenrant reported rumours that the film is “in trouble at Sony” following Tarantino stories about Uma Thurman and Roman Polanski.

Uma Thurman’s interview about her Kill Bill car crash, which permanently injured her, said Tarantino had a key role in letting the accident happen. He responded: “I was wrong” but defended himself by saying: “I didn’t force her into the car.”

This year it was also discovered that in 2003 Tarantino had appeared to defend director Roman Polanski, who in 1977 pleaded guilty to engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. 15 years ago he said that the 13-year-old girl, Samantha Geimer, “wanted it… you know all these 13-year-old party girls,” adding: “That’s not rape.” Tarantino has since apologised for the “ignorant, and insensitive, and above all incorrect” comments.

Showbiz 411 now reports that, because of Tarantino’s recent negative press, Sony is “having second thoughts” about what it reports as a $200m-budget film. If the rumours are true and Sony is reconsidering its role in producing the film, this would mean Tarantino would have to find an alternative source of funding.

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