It feels like even diehard Quentin Tarantino fans are sort of meh about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, right? The collective energy around this film is “meh” and “why” and “stop.” What I keep coming back to is that this is supposed to be QT’s historical take on the Manson Family murders and he’s telling the story through two fictional characters, played by Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. They play Sharon Tate’s neighbors. Just that fact alone screams “we’re telling the story of female victims through the eyes of men!” Well, Leo posted the above Instagram of himself and Pitt “in character” as Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth. Again, I’m not feeling it. Pitt’s trying to do the Robert Redford thing and Leo is… well… um… not releasing any BDE. To go along with the first photo, QT released a statement about the movie:
Quentin Tarantino is wading into controversial territory with his upcoming movie which revolves around Sharon Tate’s brutal murder at the hands of Charles Manson’s cult. The writer-director’s ninth film, titled Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has been in the works for years, and on Wednesday, he landed two major stars to play key roles. Leonardo DiCaprio is confirmed to play fictional Western actor Rick Dalton, whose stunt double Cliff Booth will be played by Brad Pitt.
In a statement Wednesday, Tarantino called the film a “story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood. The two lead characters are Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), former star of a Western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (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.”
He added in a release, “I’ve been working on this script for five years, as well as living in Los Angeles County most of my life, including in 1969, when I was seven years old. I’m very excited to tell this story of an LA and a Hollywood that don’t exist anymore. And I couldn’t be happier about the dynamic teaming of DiCaprio & Pitt as Rick & Cliff.”
I tend to think it should be either/or: either you tell the story of the Manson murders or you tell the story of Hollywood in 1969. NOT BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. Like, I would love a QT-meets-Mad-Men take on what Hollywood was truly like in 1969, with the rise of independent cinema and experimental European films and more. That would be a great movie. But instead, we’re getting this macabre bulls–t. Remember this too: the film is being released on the 50th anniversary of the murder of Sharon Tate. Ugh.
Photos courtesy of Getty, Instagram.