Although Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is still in theaters all over the world, Quentin Tarantino has considered turning it into a streaming miniseries – but that would be a terrible idea. Four years after his eighth film, The Hateful Eight, Tarantino came back with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a comedy-drama set in 1969 Los Angeles, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie. Like Inglourious Basterds, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is Tarantino’s reimagining of real-life events, in this case the Charles Manson murders.
The film follows actor Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his stunt-double and friend Cliff Booth (Pitt) during the final years of Hollywood’s golden age, with a big dose of pop culture references and the type of violence that can only be found in Tarantino’s work. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood has been met with mostly positive reactions, and while there’s still time before it can be released on streaming, Tarantino has been toying with the idea of splitting it into a miniseries, but that wouldn’t be the wisest decision.
In April 2019, The Hateful Eight was re-edited and released on Netflix as a four-episode miniseries. As they added cut footage to make it an extended version (going from a running time of 168 minutes to 210), Tarantino found the miniseries format “intriguing” and gave it a shot – and it some ways, it worked, but that doesn’t mean that every film can be split into episodes. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a continuous story, and unlike other Tarantino films, it’s not divided into chapters, which is a big reason why The Hateful Eight could be turned into a miniseries. Although Once Upon A Time In Hollywood could somehow be split into three parts – one following Rick, another Cliff, and one more focused on Sharon Tate – it would mess with the pace and structure of the film.
The main reason behind the “let’s turn it into a miniseries” concept is adding the scenes that didn’t make it to the theatrical version, but they were left in the cutting room for a reason that wasn’t necessarily related to time. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is long (161 minutes), and running time has never been an obstacle for Tarantino, so all that cut material might not even be that necessary to the story – which is what happened with The Hateful Eight (except for those scenes that add to Michael Madsen’s character). The film has a good pace that would be disrupted if it’s split into three (or more) parts, and the overall experience would be wasted.
Nothing is set in stone yet, and turning Once Upon A Time In Hollywood into a miniseries is just an idea floating in the air for now. But if the film wasn’t made for that, then it shouldn’t even be an option to be considered. The Hateful Eight works well as a serialized story due to the way it's structured, but the same couldn’t be said for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.