For a while there, Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” was being referred to as his Manson Family movie, mainly due to Sharon Tate being a major role in the story and the casting of the much-in-demand Margot Robbie in the part.
As more details emerged it became clear that it was more of a minor subplot or background element, and the main thrust of the film follows Leonardo DiCaprio’s fading TV western star Rick Dalton and his stunt double/best friend Cliff played by Brad Pitt trying to survive Hollywood in the summer of 1969.
Speaking with EW this week, producer David Heyman wants to make it clear the film is much more than a ‘Manson Movie’ and it’s a stigma the film is trying to shake off somewhat:
“That’s one of the big misconceptions to clarify. It’s the three classes of Hollywood. There’s the high Hollywood of Sharon, the declining star of Rick, and there’s Cliff, who lives farther out and with more humble means. These are two people who have a history together and the loyalty that they have for one another is really potent. It’s really a film about that friendship and about the power of that friendship as they go on their journeys together and separately. This is Quentin’s most personal film. This is his memories of growing up in Los Angeles and being a fan of Hollywood.”
Producer Shannon McIntosh adds Tarantino has gone out of his way to make sure he honors the victim’s legacy and doesn’t exploit the tragedy, wanting to very much avoid this being dubbed an exploitation piece about Tate’s murder:
“[Quentin] absolutely embraced Debra Tate [Sharon Tate’s sister], 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.”
With the film skipping Cannes because it won’t be ready in time, it seems like everyone will be seeing the movie around the same time when “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” hits cinemas on July 26th.