Slowly but surely, Quentin Tarantino’s next movie is coming together. The so-called Manson Family murders film landed Leonardo DiCaprio in mid-January, and late Wednesday, Sony Pictures announced that Brad Pitt will also star in the project, which we now know to be titled Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film is set to open on Aug. 9, 2019, per THR.
Sony’s press release describes the film as:
a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood. The two lead characters are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), former star of a Western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don’t recognize anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbor … Sharon Tate.
THR characterizes negotiations between Sony and the film’s two stars as “strenuous,” citing sources as saying that DiCaprio nearly walked away from the project at one point in January. However, the studio is confident the film will justify its high price tag, as both DiCaprio and Pitt have a history of critically and commercially successful collaborations with Tarantino. The writer-director’s 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, starring Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine, grossed more than $320 million worldwide and landed eight Oscar nominations, winning one on the back of Christoph Waltz’s chilling performance as Col. Hans Landa. And 2012’s Django Unchained, starring DiCaprio as sociopathic slave owner Calvin Candie, earned five Oscar nominations of its own, winning another for Waltz and a best original screenplay award for Tarantino, and making more than $425 million globally. Sony went to the mat for the rights to Tarantino’s ninth film, beating out Warner Bros. and Paramount in a bidding war last fall.
“I’ve been working on this script for five years, as well as living in Los Angeles County most of my life, including in 1969, when I was seven years old,” said Tarantino in a statement. “I’m very excited to tell this story of an L.A. and a Hollywood that don’t [sic] exist anymore. And I couldn’t be happier about the dynamic teaming of DiCaprio & Pitt as Rick & Cliff.”
Unbelievably, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will be DiCaprio and Pitt’s first time sharing the screen in a feature film. The closest they’ve ever come to co-starring is when Pitt served as a producer on Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, which starred DiCaprio.
Of course, our excitement for their first team-up is soured by recently resurfaced comments made by Tarantino, in which the writer-director defended Roman Polanski, who pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor after having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Speaking on Howard Stern’s radio show in 2003, Tarantino argued that the teenage girl, who Polanski plied with drugs and alcohol, “wanted to have it.”