EXCLUSIVE: Most times Deadline has done in-depth interviews with Quentin Tarantino, the occasion has been a hot-button moment that begged for clarity. Like the time he (temporarily) scrapped The Hateful Eight out of frustration that a rep among the small handful of actors he showed the script leaked that first draft, or when Tarantino gave Uma Thurman footage of a regrettable scene gone wrong in which she crashed and was injured in a car, only to get painted the villain in a New York Times write-up. The occasion today is his new film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, a '60s-set picture he calls his love letter to Los Angeles, an exploration of a moment when the business made Westerns and the actors in them obsolete as the auteur '70s took hold. It was also a loss of innocence moment with the spree of barbaric murders perpetrated at the direction of Charles Manson.
Despite a dream cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Bruce Dern and more, it is tricky for Tarantino to discuss his film, and you can see the dilemma in the way Sony is marketing it; they're playing up starpower while not giving away the powerful story. Tarantino was successful in asking journalists not to give up reveals when he premiered Once Upon A Time at Cannes, and there's no way around it; beyond acknowledging this is one of Tarantino's best films, baring the twists and turns before the film's opening next Friday would come at the expense of viewers. It is the ninth film he has directed — the first at Sony after the implosion of The Weinstein Company — and his self-proclaimed plan to retire after 10 has been discussed in detail here, and beaten to death in early interviews. Same with the prospect of Tarantino potentially directing an R-rated Star Trek film scripted by The Revenant's Mark L. Smith. That story was broken by Deadline, and it has also been picked over. So, does the need to nibble around the edges of his movie mean there isn't anything new or interesting for Tarantino to say? Ha!