Tarantino's controversial Manson film casts Brad Pitt alongside Leonardo DiCaprio

Director’s movie on the Manson murders of 1969 adds Pitt to the cast, with Margot Robbie courted, but not confirmed, to play Sharon Tate

Brad Pitt is to join Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the lead actors in Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming movie about the murders perpetrated by Charles Manson and his “family” in 1969.

According to Deadline, DiCaprio and Pitt will play Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, a former TV star and his stunt double who are living in Los Angeles in 1969. In a statement released by Sony Pictures, Tarantino describes his film as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood … Both [men] are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don’t recognise any more. But Rick has a very famous next door neighbour … Sharon Tate.”

Tarantino has also announced the film’s title, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and the release date has been set as 9 August, 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the murders, in which the heavily pregnant Tate, then married to Roman Polanski, along with three friends and a visitor to the house’s caretaker, were killed by Manson acolytes Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel. Margot Robbie has been courted to play the role of Tate, but her casting has not been confirmed.

Tarantino added: “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. I’m very excited to tell this story of an LA and a Hollywood that don’t exist any more.”

However, the project has attracted considerable controversy, in the wake of a series of allegations about Tarantino’s behaviour. In February, Kill Bill star Uma Thurman said that he had spat on her during the shooting of Kill Bill, and that she had been forced to undertake a driving stunt that left her injured. A 2003 interview with Howard Stern re-emerged shortly afterwards, in which Tarantino defended Roman Polanski over the latter’s 1977 rape charges (which were subsequently downgraded after a plea deal to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor). Tarantino’s longtime working relationship with disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein has also come under the spotlight, with the director forced to apologise in October last year, saying: “I knew enough to do more than I did.”


Andrew Pulver

The GuardianTramp

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