A has-been actor. His stuntman friend. A starlet. A cult leader on a murdering spree. The trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood offers a glimpse of these and other elements of life in America’s tinseltown in the 1960s. The trailer was released on Tuesday, a day before the film’s world premiere at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival.
The film recreates American actress Sharon Tate’s 1969 murder by followers of cult leader Charles Manson. On August 8 that year, members of the Manson Family commune had stormed into the house she shared with her husband, filmmaker Roman Polanski, killing a heavily pregnant Tate and four visitors.
The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, who featured in a western television series in the early-1960s but could never become a movie star. “It’s official, old buddy, I am a has-been,” he tells his best friend, stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) in the trailer. When Hollywood actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) moves into a house near Dalton and Booth’s, things take a turn.
Other real-life personalities in the film include Bruce Lee, played by Mike Moh; Steve McQueen, played by Damian Lewis; George Spahn, played by Bruce Dern; Jay Serbing, played by Emile Hirsch, and Roman Polanski, played by Rafał Zawierucha.
The star-studded ensemble cast includes Al Pacino, Zoe Bell, Clifton Collins Jr, Scoot McNairy and Kurt Russell as fictional characters. Tarantino regulars Michael Madsen and Tim Roth have been cast in unspecified roles.
Tarantino recently told Esquire that the fictional elements of the story borrowed heavily from his memories of Hollywood while growing up in the 1960s. He said the film is about a “Hollywood of reality – but a Hollywood of the mind at the same time”.
Speaking of the relationship between Rick and Cliff, DiCaprio told Esquire, “They’re part of the old guard in Hollywood, but they’re also trying to navigate this new world of the hippie revolution and free love.”
In previous interviews, Tarantino described Once Upon A Time In Hollywood as “probably the closest [thing] to Pulp Fiction that I have done”, while cinematographer Robert Richardson said the film is “playful” and “oscillates between humorous, serious, spooky”.
Calling the film his “most personal” so far, Tarantino observed, “Alfonso [Cuaron] had Roma and Mexico City, 1970. I had L. A. and 1969. This is me. This is the year that formed me. I was six years old then. This is my world. And this is my love letter to LA.”
The film will be released theatrically in the United States of America of July 26.