Better known as Quentin Tarantino's "California movie" if you're Simon Pegg, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood takes us back to a moment in history when the movie industry's glitz was splattered with blood. Regular Tarantino viewers should not be surprised.
With a stellar supporting cast, an evocative period setting to play with and featuring some of the most chilling real-life murders Los Angeles has ever witnessed, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has so much to work with.
If anyone can mix the glamour and the horror it's the man who brought us such stylistic works as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Here's everything we know so far about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood release date – marking an anniversary
The film will be released on 26 July 2019. It was originally slated to hit cinemas two weeks earlier on 9 August, which also happens to be the 50th anniversary of the Manson family murders, but someone at Sony Pictures clearly felt uncomfortable with that and shifted the date.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood cast – the cream of modern Hollywood
Who's in it? More like who isn't in it! Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth, Dakota Fanning as Squeaky Fromme, Al Pacino as Marvin Shwarz, Burt Reynolds as George Spahn, Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen, Emile Hirsch as Jay Sebring, Luke Perry as Scott Lancer, and Scoot McNairy as Business Bob Gilbert. And that's before we know who Kurt Russell, James Marsden, Zoë Bell, Michael Madsen and Timothy Olyphant are playing.
The film is also notable for having the first proper onscreen link-up between DiCaprio and Pitt. They almost appeared together in Martin Scorsese's The Audition, where Robert De Niro and DiCaprio compete for the lead role in Scorsese's next film, but the pair never actually share any screen time in the 2015 comedy short.
Aside from the fact that Pitt produced The Departed, it's surprising their paths haven't crossed properly before. "I'm incredibly excited to work with Brad Pitt," DiCaprio has said when discussing the project.
While Pitt and DiCaprio definitely look the part (see above), it's the first image of Margot Robbie that has stunned film fans. She shared a photo of herself in costume recreating Tate's famous look, sporting a black turtleneck alongside the ivory-coloured dress and boots and looking spookily like the late American actress and model.
Moh had previously honoured Lee in YouTube videos and in a tweet on the 45th anniversary of the martial artist's death.
Lee taught martial arts to director Roman Polanski, who once flew him to Switzerland for lessons. Lee also tutored Tate for her role in the Dean Martin spy spoof The Wrecking Crew.
Lena Dunham, who has previously starred in a number of indie flicks, also lands her first major film role. She will play the role of Gypsy.
Austin Butler has also joined the cast as Tex, Lorenza Izzo will play glamorous Italian movie star Francesca Capucci, while Maya Hawke will play fictional character Flower Child.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood plot – will it focus on the Manson family?
One real-life name that's missing from that list of people being portrayed is killer Charles Manson. We know that major figures in Manson's bloody past such as Roman Polanski's then-wife Sharon Tate are featured, just not whether that will be the film's focus. Tarantino could go all Summer of Sam on us and look at the murders as a backdrop to the other character's lives.
The script is thought to focus on the murder of actress Sharon Tate by Manson's followers, although Tarantino has said it actually centres on the year 1969 instead. Summer of Sam snapshot indeed. The official synopsis (sort of) confirms this:
"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is 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 long-time stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don't recognise anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbour... Sharon Tate."
From the sounds of it the city of LA will be a prominent character itself in the film.
"I'm a huge fan of Singin' in the Rain – movies about Hollywood," DiCaprio has said. "As an LA native, having read the script, it's one of the most amazing screenplays. We are going to do our best job to make it fantastic."
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood production – cameras are rolling
According to the director, the writing process was long.
"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 7 years old," said Tarantino. "I'm very excited to tell this story of an LA and a Hollywood that don't exist anymore."
Tarantino is using real-life Hollywood locations to tell that story and filming is underway right now in Los Angeles.
The only thing more authentic than the settings is the clothing. An Instagram post by DiCaprio showed both his and Pitt's character in costume, including a lovely double-denim look from Brad. He simply captioned the pic: "First look. #OnceUponATimeInHollywood."
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood soundtrack – killer beats
One thing we can guarantee this production will have is a soundtrack that cherry picks the best of its era. Tarantino has a one-of-a-kind ear when it comes to putting together a soundtrack and we expect the same here.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood trailer – 2019 beckons
The first promo for The Hateful Eight, Tarantino's previous film, was released four months before it opened in cinemas. If Once Upon A Time In Hollywood follows the same pattern, with that July 2019 release date it's unlikely we'll see a trailer before next year.
Although if QT gets his skates on, maybe this will be the Christmas present you really wanted!
('You Might Also Like',)