Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” spends plenty of time indulging in its 1960s milieu along with balancing out its lead characters and their story threads. It’s all wrapped up relatively neat and tidy by the end as well.
Yet one part of it that remains enigmatic, deliberately so, is that of Brad Pitt’s character Cliff Booth. The former Green Beret turned stuntman is shown as the loyal friend and aide-de-camp to Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) though the film doesn’t entirely justify Cliff’s almost slavish devotion to the high-maintenance Cliff.
The key element of Cliff’s backstory however is the ‘talk about town’ by numerous characters who believe Cliff killed his wife and got away with it and so are creeped out by his presence. The topic comes up in numerous conversations in the film and in one flashback scene set out at sea where we see an orange wetsuited Cliff on a boat holding a spear gun while his wife (Rebecca Gayheart) is engaged in a domestic squabble with him.
The act is alluded to but never shown and apparently only two people know the truth – Tarantino himself and Pitt. Speaking with The Los Angeles Times, the actor revealed that he was aware what actually happened as it was essential to constructing his performance but… “That, I will never tell.” He adds he’d rather the viewer make up their own mind.
The character does indicate he had avoided prison for many years and was even on a chain gang once for hitting a cop in Texas so there’s definitely an implication of a criminal past of some kind. For the future it seems Cliff will remain one of Tarantino’s secrets and most interesting characters.
Source: Heat Vision