Quentin Tarantino has always possessed a unique vision. It’s a singular outlook on the art of making movies and it is something he cherishes most of all. Over the years, Tarantino has been burned by actors and producers leaking this vision, via shi scripts, to the press and wider world. It was not a situation he was willing to risk with his latest movie Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells of the faded actor Rick Dalton (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) during the changing of the Hollywood film industry in the 1960s. Simultaneously, the film explores the background of the murder of Sharon Tate by the Manson family, marking the end of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Brad Pitt played stuntman Cliff Booth in the film, and he once sat down with Adam Sandler to discuss how he first read Tarantino’s script. “The previous one got burnt, so this one, there was just one copy,” Pitt said, “His first copy, and you had to go to his house and read it. I think the Rick Dalton character had to get cast first. He was trying to find the pair before Cliff Booth could happen.”
Pitt went on, “So the first time I went, it was a nice, clean, crisp script. Then I got a call back, I don’t know how many weeks later, and it was all dog-eared and snot-stained, and coffee cups… The script was pretty clean when I first got it. When I got the job, it was pretty used. It was pretty dirty.”
One person who read the script between its clean and dirty forms was Margot Robbie, who played Sharon Tate. Discussing her time with Tarantino at his house. Robbie told Empire, “There was no, ‘I’m gonna email you a script’ sort of thing. It was like, ‘You can sit and read it, and then I’m taking it back.’”
“It was seriously one of the most surreal moments in my life, sitting at his kitchen bench,” Robbie added. “There was one copy of the script, and it had his writing on it. I’m such a slow reader, so I was there for like four hours because it was also a really, really long.”
You might think that Tarantino would have sat down with Robbie to talk about the intricacies of the action and dialogue, but it appears that he left her to her own devices instead. Robbie continued, “He’s like. ‘I’m just watching Dexter,” I would’ve thought he’d be watching some obscure Italian Western or something, but he was like, ‘No, I’m really into Dexter right now.’ So he kept hopping back into the kitchen being like, ‘Are you done yet?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’m halfway!’”
“Interactions like that with Quentin seem to happen all the time where he just says something so flippantly, and you’re like, wait, what?” Robbie added. “People credit him often for his film knowledge, (but) they’re totally failing to recognize his amazing [general] knowledge.”