Left: Hal Needham and Burt Reynolds
Right: Brad Pitt as “Cliff Booth” and Leonardo DiCaprio as “Rick Dalton” in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino wrote and is currently directing his ninth film, the $100 million mystery crime thriller, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and the two main characters are based on the relationship between actor Burt Reynolds and stuntman turned director,  Hal Needham.

Tarantino described the story as one, “that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood. The two lead characters are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), former star of a Western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).

‘Once Upon a Time’ on set filming, Los Angeles, USA – 24 Jul 2018
Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio shooting scenes for the upcoming Movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood  Photo by Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock (9768931p)

Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don’t recognize anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbor … Sharon Tate.” Tarantino has more recently stated that while Charles Manson family murders a part of the story, the film is more about the changes that took place in late 1960’s Hollywood, and America as a whole.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino on set Splash News

The Rick Dalton character, played by DiCaprio,  is “an actor who starred in the Western television series Bounty Law from 1958 to 1963. His attempt to transition to movies did not work out and in 1969, he is struggling, guesting on other people’s shows while contemplating going to Italy – which has become a hotbed for low-budget Westerns.”

‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ on set filming, Los Angeles, USA – 25 Jul 2018 Brad Pitt films a scene for Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ in Los Angeles.
Photo by Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock (9770751l)

Pitt’s character Cliff Booth, based on Stunts Unlimited founder Hal Needham, “is Dalton’s best friend and stunt double, and the film’s plot finds them contemplating a trip to Italy to get into the spaghetti Western film scene.” As in real life, Needham was stunt double, director and close friend of Burt Reynolds – the two even lived on the same property for 12 years.

It has been confirmed that Hooper and Smokey and the Bandit star Burt Reynolds will play George Spahn, “the elderly, nearly blind rancher who famously allowed the Manson family to live on his California property. According to legend, Spahn was responsible for bestowing soon-to-be-infamous nicknames on many of Manson’s followers, including “Tex” Watson and “Squeaky” Fromme.”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is opening summer 2019. The film stars Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate as well as Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, and more. We can’t wait to see it!