In Columbia Pictures’ Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, director-writer Quentin Tarantino unites two of today’s greatest stars for the first time ever. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as TV actor Rick Dalton and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth who make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore.
Set in 1969, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is at the center. He had been the star of “Bounty Law,” a hit television series in the 50s and early 60s, but his prophesied transition to motion picture stardom never materialized. Now, as Hollywood moves towards a hippie aesthetic, Rick worries that his time has passed and wonders if there’s still a chance for him.
“Rick Dalton is a byproduct of the 50s – the 1950s pompadour hero – but now there’s a new era and this train has passed him by,” says Leonardo.
At Rick’s side is Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), a former war hero, now Rick’s stunt double. As their careers have evolved and their struggles increased, the one constant for them has been each other. Cliff has proven his loyalty to Rick over and over again, and vice versa; they are the only true family that either has.
“Our characters are based on an actor-stuntman relationship – spending entire careers together was much more prevalent at that time,” says Brad. “Cliff and Rick really rely on each other. The downtime is more grueling than the actual work at times, so to have a friend, to have a partner, was all-important. It’s even all-important now.”
“Part of what makes the film so special is to watch Leo and Brad work off of each other,” says producer Shannon McIntosh. “They’re both fully inhabiting these characters, bringing them to life in a way that leaves you feeling like they are family. For those of us who love making movies, it hits close to home, because ultimately that’s what we love about it: working with these people and forging these lifelong bonds.”
Films about such bonds, and the opportunity for “Butch and Sundance type” casting they afford, are rare in the modern system, so both parts needed to be strong. “I tried a couple of different stories, and then I decided no, I don’t want to put them through some typical melodramatic plot line,” says Quentin Tarantino. “I want it to be three rich days in the lives of these characters as they move about Los Angeles, and the conflict of the story builds each day until it reaches a tipping point.”
Watch the trailer here:
In Philippine cinemas August 28, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.