Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” earned strong reviews after its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, but it was the film’s confrontational press conference that ended up dominating headlines. One journalist asked Tarantino why Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate gets significantly less dialogue than her male co-stars, to which the writer-director replied, “I reject your hypothesis.” In a new interview with Deadline, Tarantino opened up about crafting Sharon Tate’s narrative in “Hollywood.” W
“The thing about it is, unfortunately she’s a woman who has been defined by the tragedy of her death,” Tarantino said. “While not making the Sharon Tate story, I wanted to explore who she was, the person. In doing research on her she sounds almost too good to be true from everybody who knew her. She knew a lot of people so there’s a whole lot of verbal historical accounts of her. She just seems to be one of those too sweet for this world kind of person.”
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While Robbie’s Sharon Tate does have less dialogue than the film’s two leading male characters played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, Tarantino said that it was more important for him to give the late actress her life back than to force her into the larger narrative through dialogue and character interactions. Tarantino said he got “very infatuated” with Tate the more he learned about her and wanted in the film to define her life by more than just her death.
“I thought it would both be touching and pleasurable and also sad and melancholy to just spend a little time with her, just existing,” Tarantino said. “I didn’t come up with a big story and have her work into the story so now she has to talk to other characters and move a story along. It was just a day in the life. It’s a day in the life of all three of them, that Saturday in February. A day in the life, driving around, running errands, doing this, doing that, and just being with her. I thought that could be special and meaningful. I wanted you to see Sharon a lot, see her living life. Not following some story, just see her living, see her being.”
The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” theatrical cut will run two minutes longer than the Cannes cut Tarantino first premiered. The director revealed he added back in more scenes of Sharon’s time in Westwood, slightly extending the moment when she picks up a hitchhiker. An interaction between DiCaprio and Timothy Olyphant’s character was also added for the theatrical cut.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” opens in theaters nationwide July 26 from Sony Pictures.