First Look: Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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27 years after the release of his debut Reservoir Dogs, the trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has been released. Toni Stephenson gives a round-up of what we know about it so far.

From the trailer we can gather the film will follow TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Rick Booth (Brad Pitt) as they attempt to break into the film industry in 1969, the final golden days of Hollywood. Whilst further details of the plot have been kept well under wraps, the name pays homage to film maker Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America. With these films being about men who feel they’re being left behind in a changing world, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this as a main theme of Tarantino’s film.

A subplot will also feature the Manson Family murders; after Inglorious Basterds (2009), it seems blending fact and fiction for the sake of compelling storytelling is one of Tarantino’s strengths, so it appears that this decision will only serve to enhance the film.

The numerous suspected plot lines and range of characters listed so far have led many to speculate that this film may take on a Pulp Fiction style chopped up narrative which follows numerous different people, and Tarantino himself has even said that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood shares similarities with his most popular film. Indeed, from the trailer there’s no doubt that it will be full of his quirky signature features: graphic, almost comic-like violence; quick-witted, oddball dialogue and an eclectic (very likely 1960s hippy inspired) soundtrack.

For Tarantino fans, both fresh and familiar faces will be seen on the big screen with returning regulars such as Tim Roth, Kurt Russell and Michael Madsen. DiCaprio and Pitt have also both worked with Tarantino before, but this film marks their first on-screen collaboration and it looks exciting! There’s even a legacy casting with Maya Hawke, the twenty year-old daughter of Kill Bill star Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, as ‘flower child’. This this suggests an element of reconciliation between Thurman and Tarantino following the former opening up about a car accident on the Kill Bill set and Tarantino’s subsequent hostile treatment of her during filming, for which he later apologised for. Other names gracing this star-studded cast are Al Pacino as Dalton and Booth’s agent, Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen, Mike Mo as Bruce Lee, Damon Herriman as Charles Manson and Dakota Fanning as “Squeaky” Fromme.

Overall, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood looks to be an excellent addition to Tarantino’s repertoire and a compelling homage to the director’s first love, the golden age of Hollywood.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will be in cinemas 14th August 2019.

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.