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.
- Lena Dunham and Maya Hawke have now joined the cast.
- Rising Australian actor Damon Herriman has been cast as Charles Manson.
What’s it called?
As reported by Deadline, the movie will be titled Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and its story “takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood”.
When is it meant to be released?
Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywoood’ is to be released two weeks early, after the original date clashed directly with the 50th anniversary of Sharon Tate’s murder.
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.
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.
What’s the film about?
On November 17, 2017, Vanity Fair reported via a source who had read the script: “Set in Los Angeles in the summer of 1969, 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.”
Who’s in it?
In January 2018, Leonardo DiCaprio was reported to have signed on for the film as “an aging, 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.
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 has also been reported that Burt Reynolds is in talks to play George Spahn, 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 trailer?
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.
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.
When does filming begin?
Production on the film is expected to begin in mid-2018.
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.