The first teaser trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was finally released on Tuesday, March 19th. The world had already been treated to official posters for the new film, which is due to reach theatres in July 2019.
It has long been known the film’s subject matter is based on the Tate murders, the mass murder of five people committed by members of the Manson family in August 1969. Sharon Tate was among the victims. Eight and a half months pregnant and a famous actress at the time, her murder catapulted the story into the world’s headlines. Tate will be portrayed in the film by Margot Robbie.
When information about this project was first released, a general unease was prevalent that a filmmaker famous for stylising violence would choose these real-life events for his next film. Even though Tarantino has adapted sensitive material before (think of the Nazi-era Inglourious Basterds) and made several films about people going on killing sprees (Death Proof and the Kill Bill movies), the excitement about what one of the most iconic filmmakers of our time had in store seemed slightly subdued.
The newly released trailer and posters might help with that. If the tone of the one- minute-45-seconds-long teaser is anything to go by, the film will be a blast. The cast looks like they are enjoying themselves hugely. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt have worked with Tarantino before and look insanely cool in the late 60s setting. It is hard to decide which star to look at in the moments they are on screen together. According to this little teaser there will be slick hairstyles, huge aviator sunglasses, short shorts and a lot of trippy, hippy Hollywood.
The glimpses of violence we do get include shooting, punching and some more shooting. But the violence seems to be solely related to the main characters’ professions, an actor and his stunt double. There is one shot of a man, who could possibly be Manson, but no reference to any murders at all. Instead there is what moviegoers have come to expect and love from Tarantino: great dialogue, great music and a great cast.
The only shots of Robbie in character as Tate are of her dancing in different settings. Robbie is also the focus of one of the character posters released this week. The other poster shows the dream team DiCaprio and Pitt. Gloriously clad in 60s/70s authentic attire, DiCaprio is super suave in a shiny leather jacket and gold chain, staring into the distance, while Pitt appears more laid back in jeans paired with a tee and a Hawaiian shirt. Unfortunately, DiCaprio seems to have lost the tight, mustard-coloured turtleneck jumper since the first set photo was released back in June.
With the famous Hollywood sign and a movie theatre in the background respectively, the posters allude more to the setting of the movie. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood finds LA’s film industry in the year 1969, the end of the Golden Era. DiCaprio’s TV actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) are trying to make it big and meet film greats in a “Hollywood that doesn’t exist anymore,” according to Tarantino.
In what way the Tate murders will come into play is unclear and the film might only partially take place against the backdrop of a city devastated by the horrific crime. Many of the other illustrious cast members, including the late Luke Perry in one of his last performances, have also not yet been unveiled.
In any case, thanks to all this new visual input, on top of the sheerly unbelievable cast, the excitement for the project will surely reach new heights.