Quentin Tarantino, a man who recently made news for a 2003 interview in which he defends Roman Polanski’s actions on tape, has cast Brad Pitt and Leondardo DiCaprio in his upcoming Sharon Tate violence fantasy, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
As reported by Deadline, the movie isn’t a direct retelling of the Tate murder, but a loosely-woven fantasia, sprung form the mind of a college film major with a penchant for “gritty realism.” Per Sony, it’s set at the “height of hippy Hollywood” in 1969 and features “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.”
The role of Tate will go to Margot Robbie; Tarantino was also reportedly in talks with Tom Cruise for the roles that Pitt and DiCaprio were eventually cast in. The news of a new Tarantino film is usually awarded with faint praise and cautious excitement from select corners of the world that care about hyper-masculine, aggressive, and generally heavy-handed interpretations of history on film. However, this film—his ninth, somehow—has been overshadowed by a spate of deservedly bad press.
In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s past transgressions coming to light, Tarantino spoke publicly about what he did or did not know about Weinstein’s behavior, making it seem as if he was being honest and forthright. In February, a recording of Tarantino defending Roman Polanski’s rape of a 13 year old girl on Howard Stern was sent to Jezebel shortly after Uma Thurman, a longtime favorite of Tarantino, went to Maureen Dowd of the New York Times and shared a harrowing tale of her time on the set of Kill Bill, when Tarantino made her do her own stunts, and she crashed a car into a tree.
Tarantino’s history of exacting fictional violence on women’s bodies on film does not give me much hope for the quality of this movie, but for Margot Robbie’s sake and bodily autonomy, I hope she makes it through okay.