Don’t let news about the #MeToo movement, inclusion riders, an increasingly diverse slate of upcoming films, and open conversations about equal pay fool you into thinking progressive attitudes have seeped into each of Hollywood’s filthy nooks and crannies. Aging straight white men still run the industry (see the photo above), and they love backing movies made by and starring other straight white men—especially those who happen to enjoy stories about, as my colleague Megan Reynolds put it, “exacting fictional violence on women’s bodies.”
At a CinemaCon event held Monday and reported by the LA Times’s Amy Kaufman, Sony chairman Tom Rothman, Quentin Tarantino, and Leonardo DiCaprio spoke to a gasping audience about the director’s upcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film, which is set in 1969 and “supposedly revolves around the Charles Manson murders,” will star DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, whom Tarantino calls “the most exciting, dynamic star duo since Paul Newman and Robert Redford.” Margot Robbie will play Sharon Tate.
Despite Tarantino’s 2003 defense of Roman Polanski and recent allegations from Kill Bill star Uma Thurman that he “spit on her and choked her with a chain during production” (recent controversies Kaufman brings up in her reporting, unlike her male peers at Variety and Deadline) the production is chugging along. Rothman went so far as to tell the CinemaCon audience that the screenplay was “the best he’d read in 30 years.”
DiCaprio agreed, calling it “one of the most amazing screenplays [Tarantino’s] ever written.”
Deadline’s Pete Hammond wrote that Tarantino “instantly won over the crowd when he proclaimed he was one of them,” and the accompanying headline declared that he “stole the show.”
So, to recap:
When they worked together on a film, Quentin Tarantino told Rose McGowan that he used to jerk off to her. When they worked together on a film, Quentin Tarantino “spit and choked” Uma Thurman. When they worked together on a film, Quentin Tarantino bit Fergie on the shoulder with enough force to leave a bruise. When discussing Roman Polanski’s 1977 rape of a 13-year-old girl, Quentin Tarantino said, “She wanted to have it and dated the guy... Look, she was down with this.” And when the dust from those controversies settled, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood showered Quentin Tarantino with praise. The trades quickly followed suit.