It is 1969 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and television star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is best friends with his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). “Actors are required to do a lot of dangerous stuff. Rick here is meant to carry the load,” Dalton says about his relationship with Booth in the teaser for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which was released on Thursday. The teaser also introduces Margot Robbie as actress Sharon Tate.

The film is set “at the height of hippy Hollywood”, as per Tarantino’s description, and recreates the 1969 murder of Tate by followers of American cult leader Charles Manson. On August 8 that year, members of the Manson Family commune stormed into the house she shared with her husband, filmmaker Roman Polanski, killing Tate and four visitors. The teaser also gives a glimpse of Damon Herriman as Charles Manson and American martial artist Mike Moh as Bruce Lee.

The star-studded ensemble cast includes Dakota Fanning as a Manson Family member, Al Pacino as Dalton’s agent Marvin Shwarz, Bruce Dern as real-life rancher George Spahn who colluded with Charles Manson and Tarantino regulars Tim Roth, Kurt Russell and Michael Madsen. Then there is Timothy Olyphant (Justified), James Marsden (X-Men), Emile Hirsch, Scoot McNairy, Lena Dunham, Maya Hawke (daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke), and Luke Perry, who died of a stroke on March 4.

Tarantino’s long-anticipated ninth film is set for a July 26 release and is looking to be premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

According to cast and character details released by the makers, DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton is a former television star who is making one last attempt to launch his Hollywood career and happens to live next door to Sharon Tate. Apart from Tate and Lee, several real-life Hollywood personalities have also been recreated in the film, including yesteryears star Steve McQueen, played by Damian Lewis, filmmaker Sam Wanamaker, played by Nicholas Hammond and Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha).

Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Pacino in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Courtesy Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Pacino in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Courtesy Sony Pictures Entertainment.

In 2018, Tarantino described Once Upon A Time In Hollywood as “probably the closest [thing] to Pulp Fiction that I have done.” Pulp Fiction (1994) was Tarantino’s second film after his debut Reservoir Dogs (1992). The film won the Palme D’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and fetched Tarantino an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Tarantino’s credits include the Kill Bill films (2003 and 2004), Inglourious Basterds (2009) and Django Unchained (2012). His last film was The Hateful Eight (2015).

Three-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson and frequent Tarantino collaborator has lensed Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Speaking to Indiewire, Richardson called Once Upon A Time In Hollywood a film that is “very, very, very Quentin”. He added that tonally, the film is hard to describe, “because it’s very fresh, but it oscillates between humorous, serious, spooky, it’s playful”.