Tom Cruise is in talks to star in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming film about a late-1960s-set story heavily influenced by the crimes of famed serial killer Charles Manson. While his untitled 9th feature film is still in the process of a distributive bidding war after Tarantino parted ways with The Weinstein Company following the producer's recent sexual harassment allegations, Tarantino is keen on casting a bevy of A-list actors, including Jennifer Lawrence and Margot Robbie. Cruise is just the latest in a lineup of potential actors.
According to Deadline, there will be two major male roles and Cruise is being considered for one of them. Other actors being considered for either role are Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, though there is no word on other actors who may also be vying for the part. It's also unclear whether or not all three actors can potentially join the cast, with each of them tackling a different character. From Reservoir Dogs to The Hateful Eight, Tarantino has never been one to shy away from a large ensemble cast, so it's not unlikely that he'll find a role for each of the three actors.
Cruise is currently coming off the critical and box office failure that was The Mummy, which itself may signal the ultimate failure of Universal's planned Dark Universe series. Though he has sequels to both Mission: Impossible and Top Gun in the works, a change of pace with someone like Tarantino could be the very move that propels Cruise out of any potential creative standstill. It did wonders for John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, and even though Cruise is by no means a facing personal creative failures, a working relationship with someone like Quentin Tarantino could never hurt.
Aside from Cruise, though, what Tarantino appears to be especially focused on is casting Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, the late wife of director Roman Polanski who was murdered by the Manson Family while she was 8 1/2 months pregnant. Sources say that the actor and director have met to discuss the role, but between production on Suicide Squad 2 and potential busyness within the awards season circuit with her Tonya Harding biopic I, Tonya, it's unclear whether or not Robbie's schedule will allow her to commit. Filming is expected to begin in mid-2018, with an expected release date in 2019.
The film, which will use the Charles Manson/Sharon Tate murder as a focal point, but 1969 specifically as a template, isn't just attracting stars, but studios. With TWC out of the picture, larger studios like Sony and Universal, as well as slightly smaller studios like Annapurna and Lionsgate, are vying for distribution rights. The final deals are expected to be set in stone come Thanksgiving. Producer David Heyman (the Harry Potter series, Paddington 1 & 2) has replaced Weinstein as the film's principal producer. It will be the first time he has worked with Tarantino.