EXCLUSIVE: Bidders are in hot pursuit of distribution rights to Quentin Tarantino’s new project, the one that is set in Los Angeles in the late ’60s and early ’70s, with Tarantino hoping hard that Margot Robbie will play the role of Sharon Tate. Just about every studio in town except Disney is chasing, along with several financiers and mini-majors seeking domestic rights.
Deadline set the stage for this auction recently, and here’s what is new: Add Tom Cruise to the short list of candidates Tarantino has spoken with to play one of two lead male roles. He joins Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in that small circle, but it is entirely unclear if all three will be in the movie, or two of them, or any of them, because much of that comes down to making a deal and scheduling. Harry Potter producer David Heyman will join Tarantino as the main producer on this film, and it will be his first collaboration with Tarantino. Heyman and Tarantino will produce with Shannon McIntosh, and Georgia Kacandes will be exec producer and line producer.
As for the studios, all the majors are in (Fox has been least aggressive, perhaps with all that is going on over there), and add to that list of Sony, Fox and Universal others knocking on the door like Annapurna and Lionsgate for a domestic deal that would require the international sales effort that went into The Hateful Eight. Also knocking are several pure equity financiers. The bidding is wide open right now, but a victor will be known before Thanksgiving, for sure, I’m told.
After making every movie in his directing career for Miramax and The Weinstein Company, Tarantino made the hard decision to look for a new home for his upcoming film. The pic is being referred to as #9 because it is the ninth picture in his directing oeuvre. Tarantino planned to make this film with TWC, but those plans imploded with the scandalous removal of Harvey Weinstein after the revelation of a litany of nightmarish stories about forced sexual encounters with dozens of actresses and women who worked for the company. So The House That Quentin Built — as Weinstein often called his company because of the out-sized success of Tarantino-directed pictures that included Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained — is in the process of being sold off, and despite Tarantino’s loyalty to the 170 or so staff there that helped make his movies successful, he has officially left the building.
There has been a lot of press that the script focuses on Charles Manson and the murder spree he orchestrated, but I’m told that is akin to calling Inglourious Basterds a movie about Adolf Hitler, when the Nazi leader was only in a scene or two. Deadline reported months ago that Robbie had been asked to play Manson murder victim Tate.
The film will be set in Los Angeles and begin production in mid-2018 for a 2019 release, and it will be an R-rated film, like all Tarantino’s directing efforts. Those who’ve read it said the script has heart and a strong commercial appeal, and if there is a film of Tarantino’s it can be best compared to, it would be Pulp Fiction, which also was set in Los Angeles. The film will carry a budget in the range of Django Unchained.
WME reps Tarantino.