Quentin Tarantino‘s hugely anticipated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will transport Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio back to the 60s. Specifically, the year 1969, and though we don’t know a whole lot about it just yet, the recent trailer at least gave us an idea of its premise.
From what we saw, the film will focus on aging Western TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his friend and stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt), who embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry. However, this being 1969, their story unfolds around the time of the Manson Family murders, with Margot Robbie showing up as Sharon Tate. Despite that, though, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood certainly isn’t a Manson movie.
That was something which its producers were quick to stress in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, where David Heyman and Shannon McIntosh explained the following to the outlet:
“[Sharon Tate] has been mythologized in some way through the murders but we get to see her as a person and we get to see her delight and enthusiasm and her sweetness,” Heyman said “She represents an innocence and innocence lost in some way, and that innocence is very much — that sweetness, that goodness, that delight with the movies, with her, with her life — is something that we experience.”
“Tarantino absolutely embraced Debra Tate, and that was very important to him and to us that she’d be comfortable with what we’re doing because obviously anyone thinking that we’re making it a Manson movie, which we’re not, but he was very sensitive to that and remains sensitive to that,” added McIntosh.
Of course, with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood arriving as part of a larger trend of movies released to coincide with the anniversary of Tate’s death, it’s understandable how some are seeing it as just another Charles Manson film. But while he is indeed set to feature in it, and will be played by Damon Herriman, it doesn’t seem like we’ll be seeing a whole lot of him as Tarantino plans to place his focus elsewhere.
In any case, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will be arriving in cinemas on July 26th and as one of the year’s most anticipated releases, it’ll be fascinating to see what QT does with both the setting and these real life figures, and how much controversy the film finds itself bathed in.