“You’re Rick f—ing Dalton. Don’t you forget it.”
Those are the words that Brad Pitt’s stuntman Cliff Booth tells Leonardo DiCaprio’s fading TV star Rick Dalton in the new trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, which lifted the curtain a little more on the highly-anticipated ninth film from the veteran filmmaker.
Set in 1969 Hollywood, Once Upon A Time follows Rick and Cliff as the two colleagues and friends navigate a town and an industry in change, trying to figure out their place in the world. Along the way, they encounter the beautiful It-Girl Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), as well as cult leader Charles Manson and his deadly Manson Family. Tarantino has assembled a star-studded cast that includes Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, James Marsden, and the late Luke Perry in his final role.
Producers David Heyman and Shannon McIntosh shared new details of the plot exclusively with EW last month as part of the magazine’s Summer Movie Preview, giving a better idea of how DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie’s roles fit into the plot as well as the Manson family.
Set to the 1966 bop “Good Thing” by Paul Revere & The Raiders, the new trailer shows Rick and Cliff meeting with producer Marvin Schwarz (Pacino), who raves about Rick’s new film in which he kills a group of Nazis with a fire blaster (sound familiar? That’s because it’s an homage to Tarantino’s own Inglourious Basterds). In another scene, Rick has a meltdown after he flubs a line on set of a cowboy TV show, and tells Cliff, “It’s official buddy. I’m a has-been.”
Rick’s woes over his waning career are only exacerbated when he learns that he has a new neighbor – rising star Sharon Tate. The trailer shows a clip of Sharon as she buys a ticket to watch her own movie, spy comedy The Wrecking Crew with Dean Martin, at the famous Fox Theater in Westwood. Meanwhile, Cliff crosses paths with Manson Family member Kitty Kat (Margaret Qualley), who takes him to the infamous Spahn Ranch where Manson and his followers set up camp. If that wasn’t enough, Cliff also has a run-in with Bruce Lee (Mike Moh).
Heyman said Once Upon A Time is Tarantino’s “most personal film,” drawn from the filmmaker’s own memories of growing up in Los Angeles and being entranced by Hollywood. The time period is also crucial because as McIntosh explained, “it’s about the loss of innocence that came about in 1969 with the Manson family.”
Once Upon A Time makes its debut at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, 25 years after Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or and put Tarantino on the map. Ahead of the film’s premiere, Tarantino urged attendees not to reveal any major details that would spoil the movie.
The film opens July 26.