The director discussed the upcoming book on the Pure Cinema Podcast.

By Clark Collis
June 02, 2021 at 09:58 AM EDT
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Quentin Tarantino has described his upcoming novelization of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as a "complete rethinking" of the Oscar-winning 2019 film. The director discussed his book on the latest episode of the Pure Cinema Podcast, which is hosted by Elric Kane and Brian Saur.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
Brad Pitt in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."
| Credit: Andrew Cooper/Columbia

"I'm really happy with it, I'm really proud of it," Tarantino said of the novelization, which is published June 29. "I think if you're a fan of the movie, I think you will get a kick out of reading the book, and exploring the characters further and deeper, and learning secrets that you didn't know, and were not in the movie. It's not just me taking the screenplay and then breaking it down in a novelistic form. I retold the story as a novel. So it's not like, 'Oh, okay, well he obviously had a few scenes left over, so he just took the screenplay and novelized it and threw in a few extra scenes.' It was a complete rethinking of the entire story and not just a rethinking as far as throwing some scenes that were left out of the editing room. But I did so much research."

The director continued, "I was writing it for five years, so there was so much stuff that I wrote and I explored that I never even typed up, because there was no way it was going to make the movie, but it was edification, it made me understand the characters, it made me learn things about them… I'm trying to tell a novelistic version of these characters. If the book existed first, then the movie would be me making a movie out of that material. You know how you take an unwieldy novel and try to turn it into a movie? Well, to me, the movie is that. This is the unwieldy version of the movie."

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A Novel
"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A Novel," from Harper Perennial, will be available on June 29, 2021.
| Credit: Harper Perennial

Tarantino also revealed that the book would dive deep into the backstory of Brad Pitt's character, the mysterious stuntman Cliff Booth.

"In the movie, Cliff is a real enigma, you're kind of like, what's this guy's deal?" said Tarantino. "And one of the things in the book is, there's these isolated chapters that tell you, like, this whole chapter will be about Cliff's past. It goes back in time to tell you about Cliff at this point in time. And then you go further on with the normal run of the story and there's another chapter that goes back in time and tells you about Cliff's past. And every isolated chapter that's just about Cliff's past is like a weird little pulp novel unto itself starring Cliff."

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A Novel will be available on June 29.

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