Quentin Tarantino, Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio talk “Once Upon a Time” in special livestream interview

Noah Levine

Once upon a time … the cast of Quentin Tarantino’s newest film were interviewed. 

This past weekend, Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” returned to theaters with previously unseen additional footage and access to a livestream interview with cast members Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Tarantino himself. “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” observes the lives of popular film and TV actor Rick Dalton, his trusting stunt double Cliff Booth and real-life actress Sharon Tate as they navigate the eclectic environment of 1960s Hollywood. 

In the film, Robbie portrays the late Sharon Tate, who tragically lost her life during the infamous Tate murders in 1969. Robbie said Tate’s character in the film represents life and opportunity amongst this bygone era of Hollywood.

“(Sharon Tate) was, by all accounts, just an angel on this Earth” Robbie said. “The shock is that something so innocent and pure could be taken, and I so appreciated Quentin’s approach in portraying Sharon’s life. I recognize that perhaps her presence in this script was to emulate or personify the wonderful things about Hollywood in the 60s, the opportunity, the fun.”

“Once Upon a Time” is a complex film that interweaves several narratives, genres and flashbacks. Tarantino said the origins of the film’s initial concept became apparent to him while he was working on the set of another film. 

“I’m sitting there watching (an actor and his stunt double) on the set dressed in identical outfits, and you can tell that they’ve been doing this for 12 years” Tarantino said. “They’re just shooting the s–t. And I’m kind of just kind of watching this dynamic. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a really interesting relationship. If I ever make a movie about Hollywood, a relationship like that would be a really interesting way inside.’”

In order to prepare for the character of western actor Rick Dalton, Leonardo DiCaprio was given a plethora of classic film and television examples from Tarantino. DiCaprio said diving deep into Tarantino’s cinematic knowledge resulted in a huge learning curve. 

“Quentin is a true cinephile in every sense of the word,” DiCaprio said. “But not only does he know about all these films that we all know about, but it’s also the B films, the pulp films, kung fu films, and TV from all these different decades. So for me, it was trying to capture what kind of actor Rick was and what his potential ultimately was, because in a lot of ways, the script that (Quentin) handed me was a man dealing with his own mortality.”

Set in the tail-end of 1960s Hollywood, Robbie said being on the set of “Once Upon a Time” truly made her feel like she was living in the past. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt so transported as I did on Quentin’s set because, number one, everything’s practical. It’s old 1969 all around you,” Robbie said. “There’s a row of cars from the 60s, (Quentin’s) playing music from the 60s and there’s no cell phones on set. Everyone’s either talking to each other or just doing work. And it just honestly felt like I was there. It was incredible.”