UPDATED EXCLUSIVE with Margot Robbie confirmation: Quentin Tarantino is expanding the cast of his upcoming film Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. He is in talks with Burt Reynolds to play George Spahn, and also in early discussions with his The Hateful Eight co-stars Tim Roth, Kurt Russell and Michael Madsen to play smaller roles in the film. They would join Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, who are already set.
Margot Robbie, who we first told you was Tarantino’s choice to play Sharon Tate in the movie set in Los Angeles in the summer of 1969 before the Manson murders were committed, has also been confirmed for the film, Sony has confirmed. The studio has set it for an August 9, 2019 release worldwide.
Reynolds has a great role in front of him, maybe the best one the iconic Deliverance star has gotten since Boogie Nights. Spahn was an 80-year-old near-blind man who rented his L.A. ranch out to be used as the location for Westerns. Charlie Manson convinced Spahn to allow him and his followers to live on the ranch, in the months before they murdered Tate and six others. In exchange for rent, Manson coerced his female followers into hopping into bed with the ranch owner, and serving as his seeing-eye guides, per reports.
Tarantino has provided the chance for film audiences to rediscover great actors from the ’70s who were largely forgotten about, from David Carradine to John Travolta, Pam Grier, Robert Forster and Michael Parks to name a few. What an opportunity he’s got here with Reynolds. I always loved this guy’s work growing up, and interviewed him when he released his memoir Enough About Me.
I cannot recall enjoying an interview with an actor as much as I did Reynolds. He was so gracious in reliving everything from competing with Clint Eastwood for the title of Hollywood’s top star — Reynolds said he and Eastwood got fired at the same time from Universal early on, Eastwood for his prominent adam’s apple and Reynolds because the studio thought he wasn’t any good. Reynolds told Eastwood his friend had bigger problems because there wasn’t much he could do with his adam’s apple, but that Reynolds could always learn to act. His recounting of the killer roles he turned down, all the gorgeous women he romanced, all the injuries he suffered doing his own stunts, being hated by Marlon Brando because he made the actor insecure, becoming Johnny Carson’s permanent Tonight Show guest host, palling around with Bette Davis and hearing her wit and venom…suffice to say, there isn’t an actor who is as ripe to be rediscovered on the big stage as is Reynolds, who told me back then he was pining for just this kind of a chance for a comeback.
Tarantino’s film has been referred to as a Pulp Fiction-like tapestry of stories with characters around L.A. that summer. Sony described the film as a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood. The two lead characters are Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), former star of a Western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don’t recognize anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbor…Sharon Tate.” Deadline broke last July that Tarantino had met with Robbie to play Tate.
It wasn’t clear what roles Roth, Russell and Madsen will play. Besides The Hateful Eight, Roth has starred in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, and Madsen starred in Reservoir Dogs and the Kill Bill films.
The casting on Tarantino’s film that is about to go into production is important Cannes news. Tarantino loves bringing his films here, and it is impossible to imagine Once Upon a Time In Hollywood won’t be a huge title on the Croisette in 2019.
Reynolds is repped by Abrams Artists and Link Entertainment; Roth is CAA and Jackoway Tyerman; Russell is CAA; and Madsen is BR Talent.