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Quentin Tarantino

The writer-director of the ’60s-set ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (out July 26) talks about assembling his megawatt cast—Leo! Brad! Margot!—working with the late Luke Perry, and why his last film ever could be… a Star Trek movie?

In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a fictional fading actor named Rick Dalton, and Brad Pitt is his stunt double, Cliff Booth. Given that you’d worked with both actors before, did you write the roles with them in mind?

QUENTIN TARANTINO Well, that would have been kind of silly! [Laughs] I really did not know if I was going to get, like, the greatest casting coup of the century. No, I had a whole list of “Well, if that doesn’t work, then maybe these two guys could work, maybe those two guys could work.” [The problem was] everyone wanted to play Cliff. [Laughs] Leo wanted to play Cliff, but he knew he was better for Rick.

Why did he think he was better for Rick?

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August 2019