Quentin Tarantino has already cranked up excitement for his next film, titled Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, by casting Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and (probably) Margot Robbie in the three lead roles, but he’s not done there. The director is now reportedly filling out his ensemble for the film.
Never one to shy away from movie stars of a bygone era, the director is reportedly in talks with Burt Reynolds to play the role of George Spahn, while Tarantino regulars such as Tim Roth, Kurt Russell and Michael Madsen are all in early talks to play smaller roles in the film.
Reynolds’ potential role of Spahn is a real life character. Spahn was a near-blind old man who often rented out his ranch to be used as a location for shooting westerns. Reportedly, Charles Manson convinced Spahn to allow him and his followers to live on the ranch for free in exchange for ‘companionship’ from the female followers.
The film will take place in Los Angeles in the summer of 1969 against the backdrop of the Manson murders. DiCaprio will star as the former star of a western TV show trying to stay relevant, with Pitt playing his longtime stunt double. The Manson connection comes into play with DiCaprio’s character who happens to live next door to Sharon Tate (a role Robbie is in talks for).
The film has been described as being in the vein of Pulp Fiction, and with an A-list cast of this magnitude Tarantino is going all out. It will be interesting to see if he casts anyone in the role of Manson himself, or whether the idea is to have the spectre of Manson loom over the film instead.
In looking to cast Reynolds, Tarantino might be aiming for the kind of reclamation project he achieved when casting John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. At the time, the actor was in a massive career slump before that role turned everything around and transported him into the realm of megastar again for close to a decade.
Whether Tarantino can have the same effect with Reynolds remains to be seen, and this role is unlikely to be as substantial as the Travolta one was, but we’ll see. Around that same time Reynolds had his own mini-renaissance of sorts after Paul Thomas Anderson cast him in Boogie Nights, but the notoriously hard-to-work-with actor hasn’t done much since.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is shaping up to be one of Tarantino’s most anticipated films. Production is set to begin this summer, and the film is slated to hit cinemas on August 9, 2019.