Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood, continues his streak of universally praised works. It's also not without controversy due to its depiction of late '60s Hollywood and several historical figures. Several moments polarized audiences and critics, but most agreed that it was a stellar film. Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the rest of the cast pull off astounding performances, bringing the auteur filmmaker's script to life with gusto.
The film is huge, brimming with countless details, each of which containing a behind the scenes story. The following ten entries will take a look at these lesser known facts about what is shaping up to be one of the best movies of the year. For the spoiler cautious, it is best to watch the movie first if one doesn't want key events ruined.
10 Burt Reynolds
Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds was to take part in the film, but passed away before he was able to shoot his scenes. The role in question was George Spahn, the owner of the ranch the Manson Family used as a home. Burt attended rehearsals, but the role went to Bruce Dern after the actor's passing. That's not the only connection he has to the film, though. Rick Dalton's cameo on F.B.I. is a role Reynolds originally played. The quip about chewing gum during the scene is a reference to the beloved actor.
9 Debra Tate
Sharon Tate's sister, Debra, had understandable reservations about the film. She eventually gave her blessing after meeting with Tarantino and reading the script. On top of that, she also visited the set and brought some of her late sibling's jewelry for Margot Robbie to wear during filming. Despite the family giving their stamp of approval, that didn't stop others from voicing displeasure with Sharon's portrayal in the film. Journalist Farah Nayeri felt she didn't get enough dialog during the almost three hour run time.
8 Wikipedia Plot Summary
Wikipedia's wild west of information caused quite the ruckus before the film's July 26th release. The plot summary detailed an entirely untrue ending even more ridiculous than the one in the film. In it, The Manson Family breaks into Sharon Tate's house, but Bruce Lee, Cliff, and Rick show up in the nick of time to rescue them. Also, Sharon utilizes her own marshal arts prowess to best the attackers. Cliff would have succumbed to his wounds during this encounter in the fake ending. The weird event triggered an internal quarrel among the Wikipedia editors and their ethics regarding spoilers in an unreleased movie.
7 Damon Herriman
For a movie initially described as being about Charlie Manson's cult and the murders, he actually has a minuscule amount of screen time. It makes sense; the story shines a light on and glorifies the last days of a bygone era, and wasn't meant to focus on the thing that brought it down. Interestingly enough, Damon Herriman also played the notorious cult leader both in the movie and on the Netflix television show Mindhunter in the same year. For the actor's sake, we hope he doesn't receive any public ire for portraying one of America's most notorious criminals twice in quick succession.
6 Famous Actors On The Cutting Room Floor
The cast list in this movie is simply huge, brimming with Hollywood Legends, recognizable character actors, and younger faces just getting their feet wet in the industry. Several big names filmed scenes that ultimately didn't make it into the movie. Two such names were James Marsden and Tim Roth. Marsden filmed scenes playing Burt Reynolds, while Roth, a long time friend of the director, had a small role as a butler. We hope they weren't too sore about their work not showing up in the final cut. It must have been nice just to work with Tarantino.
5 Roman Polanski
Because of Roman Polanski's legal issues, he was unable to fly out to the states and meet with Tarantino. Instead, a close friend of his met with the director and read the script on the exiled filmmaker's behalf. According to Tarantino, Polanski wasn't immediately opposed to the idea, but was simply curious as to what the project ultimately would be. After his friend read the script, he assured the Polish director that he had nothing to worry about.
4 Hell River
One of the fictional movies Rick Dalton starred in is called The 14 Fists of McCluskey. A brief snippet of it is shown early in the movie. They didn't film an imaginary segment in the style of a classic World War II film to pull this off. Instead, footage from a different movie was used.
The movie in question was Hell River, about Partisans in Yugoslavia. Fittingly, the movie starred Adam West, whose most famous role was that of Batman on the hit '60s television show. Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood features a nod to that show.
3 Phones Were Banned From The Set
According to actor Timothy Olyphant, phones were firmly banned on set. Anybody caught using their device would be promptly fired from the production. The ban was meant to remove any distractions, getting everyone to focus on the task at hand.
He added that special areas outside the set were there for anyone needing to make a call. It's hard to argue with this philosophy; phones really do distract people in every day life, and a filmmaker doesn't want any of that during their production.
2 Bruce Lee Fight
Bruce Lee's portrayal is one of the film's more controversial moments. Lee's daughter took umbrage with the martial arts legend's perceived arrogance. Originally, his fight with Cliff ended drastically different. Instead of their bout facing an interruption, it was to conclude with Cliff victorious.
Everybody involved with the scene felt uncomfortable with this, including the stunt coordinator, so it was changed during filming to end in a draw. Some were still displeased with Lee's inclusion in the movie, however.
1 How Tarantino Prevented The Script Leaking
Several of Quentin Tarantino's prior films have all had their scripts leak before release. The director was determined not to let this happen again, going to great lengths in order to prevent such a security breach. Only a handful of people were allowed to read the script in its entirety beforehand, and members of production involved in pulling off the finale only learned of the ending a couple of months before it was filmed. Given the prior debacles with his scripts, Tarantino's precaution was wholly justified.