The new Quentin Tarantino flick isn’t even out yet, but it’s already stirring up drama. Apparently, Margot Robbie’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood role is rather small and everyone is confused. Just to catch up, the Pulp Fiction director’s ninth film follows a faded television actor, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) who are desperate to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Since the film is set in 1969 and we know how much Tarantino loves to bend and twist history, Rick and Cliff’s story also intersects with Charles Manson and slain actress Sharon Tate–portrayed by Margot Robbie.
Robbie has been a force since she stepped onto the scene in films like I, Tonya and The Wolf of Wall Street. Therefore, people were thrilled to see her take on Tate–who was murdered by the Mason Family. Unfortunately, the word from the Cannes Film Festival is that Robbie barely has any lines in the flick.
During a press conference at the fest, a journalist from the New York Times questioned Tarantino about Robbie’s lack of dialogue. She asked, “She was with Leonardo in Wolf of Wall Street, I, Tonya. This is a person with great acting talent and yet you haven’t given her many lines in the movie,” she continued. “I guess that was a deliberate choice on your part. And I just wanted to know why that was that we don’t hear her speak that much.”
Tarantino was not having it. Quite curtly he retorted, “Well, I just reject your hypothesis.”
A consummate professional Robbie took on the question saying,
The tragedy ultimately was the loss of innocence, and to really show those wonderful sides of her I think could be adequately done without speaking. I did feel like I got a lot of time to explore the character even without dialogue, specifically. Which is an interesting thing because I often do look to the interaction with other characters to inform me on the character. Rarely do I get an opportunity to spend so much time on my own as a character. … That was actually an interesting thing to do for me as an actor, I appreciated the exercise.
Those who’ve seen the film are divided. One critic says you don’t hear a word from Robbie until an hour into the flick, another pointed to the director’s track record with women, and a few simply said he could’ve handled the question better.
Robbie is a brilliant actress and we doubt she would take a role that she didn’t feel was worthwhile unless things drastically changed during the filming and editing process.
When asked later about Robbie’s role the prolific director told IndieWire, “There was a little bit more of her; everybody lost sequences…It’s not her story, it’s Rick’s story. It’s not even Cliff’s. And Tate is an angelic presence throughout the movie, she’s an angelic ghost on earth, to some degree, she’s not in the movie, she’s in our hearts.”
Considering Tarantino’s track record with women who have stood at the center of his film’s like the Kill Bill saga, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown we’re going to reserve our judgment until we actually get to see the film. He also suggested that he might recut the movie to make it a tad longer. This could potentially expand Robbie’s presence.
We shall see. Once Upon the Hollywood hits theaters July 26, 2019.