By Clark Collis
July 22, 2019 at 02:00 PM EDT
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Theoretically, Quentin Tarantino could have made his Tinseltown fable Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (out July 26) at any point in his career. But the writer-director is glad he started work on the project when he did. Why? Because it allowed him to cast I, Tonya star Margot Robbie in the role of Sharon Tate, the actress who was murdered in August 1969 by members of the Manson family and is one of the main characters in Tarantino’s movie.

“One of the luckiest things that happened to me in the course of making the movie was to make it right now and have Margot out there,” the filmmaker tells EW. “I mean, she was such perfect casting that I didn’t have a second choice.”

Fortuitously, Robbie was a big Tarantino fan.

“Right towards the end of finishing up the script, out of the blue, I got a letter, and it was from Margot,” says Tarantino. “She said she’s a big fan of my films and she would love an opportunity to be in one of my movies. I took that as a good sign.”

Andrew Cooper/Sony

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood costars Leonardo DiCaprio as a (fictional) actor named Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as his stuntman-gopher, Cliff Booth. The film’s cast also includes Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, and Dakota Fanning, among others.

Watch the trailer for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, above.

To read more from the August issue of Entertainment Weekly, pick up a copy when it hit stands on July 25-26. You can buy all five covers, or purchase your individual favorites featuring Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, White Canary, and Batwoman. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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