Quentin Tarantino’s potentially penultimate film is firming up. We learned a few months ago that the Kill Bill filmmaker had finished a new script and was aiming high in casting a story tangentially connected to the murder of Sharon Tate. Plot details trickled out here and there, but Sony Pictures tonight announced a title, synopsis, and initial cast for the movie, giving us some official info in one neat batch.
Leonardo DiCaprio is firmed up in the lead role, and Brad Pitt will be co-starring alongside him in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. That’s the title of the new Quentin Tarantino movie, and the logline is as follows:
Tarantino describes it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood. The two lead characters are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), former star of a western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don’t recognize anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbor…Sharon Tate.”
While earlier reports had Tom Cruise eyed for a role, he’s not mentioned in this press release. It’s unclear if Cruise ultimately passed on the project, or if negotiations are still ongoing. Margot Robbie is reportedly being eyed to play Tate, Cruise may or may not have been pegged to play a prosecutor, and Tarantino has also reportedly written a supporting role with Al Pacino in mind.
There was some question over whether this movie would proceed with this ideal cast in the wake of revelations from Uma Thurman, who recounted some troubling stories from her time on the set of Kill Bill where she was put in harm’s way during a stunt gone wrong. The actress subsequently clarified her story to lessen the blame on Tarantino himself, and he also gave a separate interview where he took responsibility, but it certainly brought up some unsettling issues.
DiCaprio and Pitt are both reuniting with Tarantino here after working with the filmmaker on Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds, respectively. This casting is kind of perfect—I can definitely see Pitt as DiCaprio’s stunt double—and I’m curious to see how the rest of the ensemble fills out. DiCaprio is famously picky about his roles and hasn’t worked since The Revenant, which finally won him an Oscar. Pitt, meanwhile, most recently wrapped James Gray’s sci-fi film Ad Astra and may or may not be reteaming with David Fincher on World War Z 2.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood marks a different kind of first for Tarantino: It’s his first movie without Harvey Weinstein. Indeed, after the revelations about Weinstein’s abhorrent behavior, Tarantino dropped the producer and after being wooed by various studios around town, is making Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with Sony Pictures.
The filmmaker revealed in the press release that he’s been working on this script for five years (so he started it right after Django Unchained) and notes that he’s been living in Los Angeles for most of his life. “I’m very excited to tell this story of an LA and a Hollywood that don’t exist anymore,” noted Tarantino, adding “And I couldn’t be happier about the dynamic teaming of DiCaprio & Pitt as Rick & Cliff.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood hits theaters on August 9, 2019.