For countless fans around the globe, a new Quentin Tarantino film isn't just another movie hitting the big screen; it's an event. The director's ninth film was released in July 2019, and moviegoers were not disappointed with what Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is all about. At first, it was only known as the "Tarantino Manson movie," but as more information emerged, it became clear that Manson figures only tangentially into the overall plot. It's a much larger story about Los Angeles during the time of Manson's reign of fear.
Tarantino himself intimated the movie as a Pulp Fiction-esque tapestry of stories. But whatever form the storytelling takes, many who have been privileged enough to read the script and those who saw the film are singing its praises.
In September 2019, just two months after Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiered, Brad Pitt confirmed for The New York Times that Tarantino was considering releasing the extended footage from the film as a Netflix miniseries. Since the original cut was nearly 4.5 hours long, there is plenty of footage to choose from if the director decides to go through with the series.
Some of the footage rumored to exist is a scene of Margot Robbie going for a swim, and potential characters who were cut entirely from the film such as Dean Martin and Burt Reynolds, played by Danny Strong and James Marsden, respectively.
Tarantino released a miniseries based on his film The Hateful Eight in April 2019 under similar circumstances. Netflix approached the director about the Hateful Eight miniseries, and Tarantino suggested he was excited to produce "fuller versions" of his work.
On May 21, 2019, just two months before the film is set to premiere, a full length trailer gave fans a deeper look into what they can expect from Tarantino's ninth film. What appears to be the story of an action movie actor at the end of his career flips the switch about halfway through when we are introduced to Sharon Tate and the Manson family. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood displays some of Tarantino's classic moves by skewing expectations.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is set in 1969 Los Angeles in an environment Tarantino describes as "the height of hippie Hollywood." The auteur has said the film follows a former TV western actor named Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to make sense of an entertainment industry they no longer recognize.
"But," Tarantino teased, "Rick has a very famous next-door neighbor… Sharon Tate." Cinematographer Robert Richardson described the movie like this: "[I]t’s very fresh, but it oscillates between humorous, serious, spooky; it’s playful. It’s not easily describable, but it’s very Quentin."
Despite the early press claiming it to be a Charles Manson movie, he is only one of many characters, both real and fictional, that feature in Once Upon a Time. It is not a Manson biopic in any way.
The slaying of Rick's neighbor, Sharon Tate, however, will reportedly figure into the plot.