American auteur Quentin Tarantino will be taking on the Manson Family murders with the upcoming “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie as the ill-fated actress Sharon Tate. While early buzz at the Cannes Film Festival indicates the movie will be a hit, at least one critic took issue with the fact that Robbie’s character had a limited amount of screen time compared to her male co-stars.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Quentin Tarantino largely dismissed a New York Times reporter pressing him about Margot Robbie’s alleged lack of screen time while speaking at a panel at the Cannes Film Festival this week.
“A reporter suggested that Robbie, an Oscar-nominated actress who has far less screen time than her two male co-stars and few lines in the film, was underused,” reported THR. “To that, Tarantino, looking visibly annoyed, answered curtly, ‘I reject your hypothesis.'”
Quentin Tarantino then got some help from the very woman whom the New York Times reporter believed they were championing: Margot Robbie herself, who said that her character had just the right amount of screen time.
“I think the moments that I got onscreen gave an opportunity to honor Sharon and her lightness,” said Robbie. “I don’t think it was intended to delve deeper. As Brad mentioned, I think the tragedy was ultimately the loss of innocence and to show those wonderful sides of her could be done quickly without speaking, and I did feel like I had a lot of time to explore the character event without dialogue.”
On the same panel, Brad Pitt described the film as being about the “loss of innocence,” which the Manson Family perfectly epitomizes as the dark side of 1960s free love culture.
“I didn’t see it as a rage against individuals but a rage against a loss of innocence,” Pitt said of the film.
Check out the full trailer released on Tuesday:
Another report from THR noted that Tarantino’s ninth film has been quite a hit at the Cannes Film Festival this year, premiering on Tuesday to a six-minute standing ovation. While some critics have expressed mild discontent with its shockingly violent conclusion, the overwhelming response has been positive, primarily due to Tarantino’s uncanny representation of 1969 Hollywood — the year in which cult leader Charles Manson inspired several of his followers to murder seven innocent people, including Roman Polanski’s then-pregnant wife Sharon Tate.
“With richly detailed input from production designer Barbara Ling and beyond-cool retro fashions from costumer Arianne Phillips, Tarantino folds the low-key buddy comedy into a lovingly recreated, almost fetishistic celebration of late ‘60s Hollywood, infused with color and vitality by cinematographer Robbie Richardson,” wrote THR’s David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter, who does admit that the film at times feels “uneven” in its pacing.
“One’s allegiance to the film is consistently won back by DiCaprio and Pitt, who make easy, and disarmingly humble, platonic poetry out of this curious dynamic,” wrote Lawson. “[Tarantino’s] always been a great director of actors, and here he manages to wipe away some of the gunk of time and fame to find an indefinable It-ness that used to get people noticed at lunch counters. In so doing, Tarantino lets us access some of the love he so ardently wants us to feel for all his cherished arcana.”
Though no details have been provided as to how Tarantino handles the Manson family murders, David Sexton of The Evening Standard says it ends “sensationally violent even by Quentin’s high standards.”
“Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” opens nationwide on July 26.