10 fast facts about the cast of 'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood'
The Quentin Tarantino-directed film has Oscar buzz written all over it. Could this be the most brilliantly cast movie of the year?
Once Upon a Time ... a man named Quentin Tarantino rounded up all his movie star friends to create an alternate 1960s universe where an aging television actor and his stunt double embark on a journey to make a name for themselves in the Hollywood film industry.
Sounds like an intriguing plot, but when you factor in the star-studded cast that rounds out Tarantino's ninth feature film, "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" – Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino and Margot Robbie, to name just a few – you've officially reached cinematic perfection.
To help drum up well-deserved buzz for the film, which opens in theaters Friday, we bring you 10 fast facts about some of this stellar cast and their connection with the legendary director.
Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth
Tarantino cast Pitt for his 2009 WWII movie “Inglourious Basterds," but that wasn't the first time the two worked together. Tarantino also wrote the 1993 film "True Romance," in which Pitt played a small but significant role. The pairing proved successful, and after "Basterds," Tarantino began courting Pitt to play the role of Cliff Booth, a stuntman looking to reclaim his career, in "Once Upon a Time."
Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton
Despite DiCaprio's lengthy resume and ability to spur "Beatlemania"-esque fandom, this is only his second time working with Tarantino. He co-starred with Jamie Foxx in "Django Unchained" in 2012. "He kind of stands alone today, like Al Pacino or Robert De Niro were in the '70s, where they weren't trying to do two movies a year — they could do anything they wanted, and they wanted to do this," Tarantino said of DiCaprio.
Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate
With Tarantino's clout, he could have his pick out of a wide pool of actresses for his films. But there was no other choice to play Sharon Tate than Margot Robbie, the 28-year-old "I, Tonya" star. Tate, a real-life actress who was murdered in 1969 by members of the Manson Family, gets the historical-fiction treatment in "Once Upon a Time." “She was such perfect casting that I didn't have a second choice," Tarantino told Entertainment Weekly.
And as for Robbie, the Australian actress actually got to wear some of Tate's jewelry for the role, which was loaned to her by Sharon's family. "It was immensely important for me to honor Sharon’s generous spirit,” Robbie told People. “I felt an enormous sense of responsibility. She really was such a beautiful character to play.”
Daniella Pick as Daphna Ben-Cobo
Daniella Pick flashes her best red-carpet smile as she arrives with husband Quentin Tarantino for the screening of the film 'Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood' at the Cannes Film Festival in southern France. (Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Details are scarce about exactly what kind of role Pick, who married Tarantino this spring, has in "Once Upon a Time." The Israeli actress and singer is listed as a cast member in the film playing Daphna Ben-Cobo, who is reportedly paired with DiCaprio in at least one scene in the film.
Notably, the director met Pick when he was in Israel promoting “Inglorious Basterds," and the couple dated off and on for more than eight years before tying the knot.
Damon Herriman as Charles Manson
Though it's his first time working with Tarantino, the Australian actor is actually playing the infamous serial killer for the second time. Herriman also played Manson in "Mindhunter," a 2017 Netflix series. As Inverse magazine pointed out, "Herriman apparently had one of those faces that both teams looked at and thought, 'Yea, that’s Manson,' which obviously worked out for him, but it’s probably a little bit weird to realize you have more than a passing resemblance to a convicted murderer."
Luke Perry as Scott Lancer
Perry filmed the role of Lancer, a TV western actor, for "Once Upon a Time" shortly before he passed away at age 52. Working with Tarantino was reportedly a "bucket list item" for Perry, according to producer Shannon McIntosh. "His performance is amazing and he will be remembered as we release this movie, and his family will celebrate his performance with us," she said.
Al Pacino as Marvin Shwarz
Rolling Stone is calling "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" "Tarantino's Violent Tinseltown Valentine." So it seems fitting to add Scarface himself, Al Pacino, to the cast. In the film, Pacino plays Marvin Shwarz, an agent who advises DiCaprio's Dalton to take roles in Spaghetti Westerns abroad, much like Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds did during career slumps. It was a role specifically tailored for Pacino, marking his first collaboration with Tarantino.
Margaret Qualley as Pussycat
Until recently, Margaret Qualley was perhaps best known as the daughter of actress Andie MacDowell. A former ballet dancer, she's about to burst onto the big screen as fictional Manson family member Pussycat in "Once Upon a Time." She's part of a creepy ensemble of cult members and is (spoiler ahead!) eventually revealed to be corrupt.
Bruce Dern as George Spahn
Tarantino had originally tapped Burt Reynolds for the role of George Spahn, but after Reynolds’ death in 2018, the role was recast. Like Pitt, Dern is no stranger to Tarantino’s films; he played Confederate general Sanford Smithers in “The Hateful Eight.” Now, he’s playing Spahn, who actually existed in the 1960s as a nearly blind man who rented out his L.A. ranch as a stage for Westerns, but became ensnared by the Manson family instead.
Dakota Fanning as Squeaky Fromme
Several of the characters in “Once Upon a Time” are fictional, a figment of Tarantino’s wild imagination. But others, like Squeaky Fromme, are very real – a little too real at times, if you were alive in the time of the Manson murders. Fromme, notorious for her assassination attempt on President Gerald Ford in 1975, gets a reimagined role via Fanning, who rose to prominence at the age of 7 in “I Am Sam.”
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