Rick/Cliff relationship is reportedly inspired by the real-life actor and stuntman duo Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham. They are fictional characters, as is Rick’s agent Marvin Schwarz (Al Pacino). But it’s the colorful assortment of real-life figures from the period that make Once Upon A Time a Who’s Who of late- 60s Tinseltown.Australian Oscar nominee Margot Robbie stars as Sharon Tate, and another Aussie actor, Justified star Damon Herriman, plays Charles Manson.(Photo by Weinstein Company)Bruce Dern plays George Spahn, the California rancher who was persuaded to allow the Manson Family to live on his property. (Remember the Spahn Movie Ranch?) The role was originally, in fact, supposed to be played by Burt Reynolds, who died in September of 2018. In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes promoting his Certified Fresh film, The Mustang, Dern had this to say about Tarantino s film: All I can say is this is me telling you he s a magician, because in this movie, he did something mad. It s probably the most unique endeavor I ve seen a director undertake and do. Without ruining the movie for you I can t tell you what that is, but the minute you get to see it, you will say, Bruce Dern is absolutely right.' Dern continued: You ll know, because he did the single most unpredictable thing I ve ever seen a director do, in this movie. And I don t mean a moment; I mean the entire movie. Because, you know what, you probably remember something about the Manson Murders, and How horrendous! and so forth and so on. Well, everybody says, Oh my God! I can t wait til Quentin does the Manson Murders. There s a movie about that, I can t wait, and so forth and so on. Well, I won t say a word, but remember I told you what I told you. Moving on, Dakota Fanning plays Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a Manson disciple best known for trying to assassinate President Gerald Ford. Billions star Damian Lewis plays A-list actor and heartthrob Steve McQueen, then considered the coolest Hollywood star on the planet.(Photo by Columbia Pictures)Emile Hirsch plays celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, also killed in the Tate murders. Polish actor Rafal Zawierucha plays the young Roman Polanski, who was filming in London on the night his wife was killed by the Manson Family. Austin Butler plays Charles “Tex” Watson, the most vicious of the Manson Family killers, who was convicted of seven first-degree murders.Girls star/creator Lena Dunham plays Catherine “Gypsy” Share, a Manson follower who did not participate in the murders, while The Haunting of Hill House star Victoria Pedretti plays Manson Family member and convicted murderer Leslie (“Lulu”) Van Houten who was just 19 at the time of the slayings.Fittingly, Mike Moh plays martial arts icon Bruce Lee, who actually suspected Polanski briefly in Tate’s murder. Moh, who starred in Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist, has paid tribute to Lee in several YouTube videos.And, sadly, Once Upon A Time marks the final on-screen role for Luke Perry, the Beverly Hills 90210 and Riverdale star who died suddenly on March 4 at the age of 52. Perry plays Scott Lancer, one of the main characters on the Western TV series Lancer, which ran on CBS from 1968 to 1970.Other stars playing both true-life and fictional characters include long-time Tarantino mainstays Michael Madsen and Tim Roth, as well as Kurt Russell, Timothy Olyphant, Lorenza Izzo, Maya Hawke, Rumer Willis, and Scoot McNairy.Keep in Mind Ryan FujitaniTarantino has been known to play hard and loose with history. Remember how Inglorious Basterds imagined an alternate reality in which American Jewish soldiers took their revenge on Hitler and murdered him at the height of WWII? Is it possible Once Upon A Time will put its own stamp on the most infamous, shocking crime of the 1960s, a crime that signaled a dark, bloody end to hippie culture? Dern s words seem to suggest it might.Sharon Tate’s sister Debra, who’s been very protective of her sister’s legacy and, according to an article on Nerdist.com, was already protesting the film even before she knew what it was about, told TMZ: “This movie is not what people would expect it to be when you combine the Tarantino and Manson names. Sounds like she approves. Get ready for the unexpected.Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens everywhere on July 26.
Thought it was too late for more Game of Thrones theories? You thought wrong. Check out Kit Harington s latest fan theory debunking, some major Disney+ plans, and more of the week s biggest TV news.TOP STORYKit Harington Debunks Major Game of Thrones Theory(Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO)One of the biggest deaths of the final season of Game of Thrones came when Arya Stark heroically killed the Night King. Though the internet exploded with the requisite cheering for the pint-size assassin that night, the next day a fan theory bubbled up that implied Jon Snow had whispered to his little sister to go find the villain and take him out. Kit Harington, who played know-nothing Jon Snow, called the theory “crap.”“What, the big man goes and tells the little girl to go and [do it]? No thanks. That s crap,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview about his Emmy-nominated season 8 performance. “She did it all on her own. It had nothing to do with Jon.”He did wish that Jon had a hand in the Night King’s death, though.“I was so happy for Maisie and Arya,” he said, but “I was secretly like, ‘I wanted to do that!’ Especially because I love fighting with Vlad, who also played the White Walker I fought at Hardhome. I ve never seen a better swordsman. But it was a really great twist, and it tied up Maisie s journey in a really beautiful way. Over the seasons, we ve seen her build up these skills to become this hardened assassin, and she uses it all to kill our main antagonist.”As far as Jon Snow s fate at the very end of the series, Harington told the magazine that he thinks his character is living happily with the Wildlings beyond the Wall.“Seeing him go beyond the Wall back to something true, something honest, something pure with these people he was always told he belongs with — the Free Folk — it felt to me like he was finally free, he said.Hilary Duff Is Reviving Lizzie McGuire for a New Disney+ SeriesDisney Channel has a picture-perfect plan for fans of its early 2000s series Lizzie McGuire: A rebooted sequel series with original star Hilary Duff and original creator Terri Minsky. The new series, which will debut on Disney+, will see Lizzie as a 30-year-old millennial navigating life in New York City. (And yes, the animated version of Lizzie will be back to bring some of Lizzie’s inner monologue to life.)Freeform Brings Back Halloween House for Your Spooky Instagram Needs(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)Attention Halloween lovers in the Los Angeles area: Freeform is bringing back its Halloween House for a second year to celebrate the network’s annual 31 Nights of Halloween programming. Fans will be able to visit the Sanderson Sisters’ cottage from Hocus Pocus, the Addams Family living room, the spiral hill from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and plenty more photo ops. Freeform’s 2019 Halloween House will be located at the Hollywood Athletic Club, and this year’s 31 Nights of Halloween event will include staples Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Addams Family, as well as Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters 2, Scream, Scream 2, and Scream 3, among other iconic spooky films.Dancing With the Stars Welcomes Queer Eye, The Office Stars(Photo by ABC)The cast of the upcoming 28th season of Dancing With the Stars includes singers, athletes, TV stars, and more. Competing for the mirrorball trophy are country star and American Idol vet Lauren Alaina, supermodel Christie Brinkley, pop star Ally Brooke, recent Bachelorette Hannah Brown, Queer Eye lifestyle expert Karamo Brown, The Office’s Kate Flannery, NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, actor Kel Mitchell, NBA champion Lamar Odom, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek, and The Supremes singer Mary Wilson. Professional dancer pairings will be revealed on the season premiere, which airs Monday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC.The Sopranos Cast to Reunite(Photo by HBO)MTV is staging a mini Sopranos reunion on its upcoming VMAs telecast. Stars Drea De Matteo, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Vincent Pastore will present an award at the 2019 ceremony in Newark, New Jersey on Aug. 26. Other presenters include Ice-T, John Travolta, Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, Rick Ross, Salt-N-Pepa, and US Women’s National Soccer Team champions Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, and Ashlyn Harris among others.Casting Update: The Manda
(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)Is there anything more meta than a flop about making flops? Ed Wood, Tim Burton’s biopic on “the worst director of all time,” may have been the critical darling its subject could only dream of (it’s Burton’s highest-rated directorial effort at 92% on the Tomatometer), but it hardly caught on. The comedy took in less than a third of Burton’s comparatively small -million budget, whereas the filmmaker’s predecessor, Batman Returns, skyrocketed to become the then-highest-grossing opening weekend of all time. To give an idea of the comedies the public did pine for in 1994, Jim Carrey starred in three movies in the top 20 that year. Ed Wood was decidedly nothing like a Jim Carrey movie.Dark, sweet and restrained (by Burton standards, anyway), Ed Wood chronicles the life of Edward D. Wood Jr. (Johnny Depp), a crossdressing wannabe auteur in the 1950s who befriends his hero, a washed-up and drug-addled Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau), and makes schlocky B-movies with a misfit crew. Here are just a few reasons why it remains a high-watermark for Burton and pretty much everyone involved — and warrants some serious reassessment if you shrugged it off 25 years back.IT S BURTON S SMALLEST MOVIE(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)Wait, so where did the guy go who wowed with the visual feasts Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Beetlejuice and the thrilling art direction in Edward Scissorhands and Batman? He’s Mostly absent here. There are some nifty, Burtonesque flourishes — a cheesily spooky title sequence that harkens back to ’50s horror and sci-fi sets the tone perfectly — but overall, Burton puts a simple story over any distinct style. It’s him at his least showy, a move that lets the comedy’s quickfire script breathe and doesn’t muddy up its already arresting performances. Besides, when you have black-and-white cinematography (thanks to cinematographer Stefan Czapsky) this beautiful, why complicate things? Burton, in fact, was so adamant about the film being monochrome that Columbia dropped the picture (Disney picked it up later). AND HIS MOST PERSONAL(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)It’s not hard to understand why Burton would relate to a story about an energetic young director bonding with his childhood idol. Burton famously adored Vincent Price, casting him in the stop-motion Disney short “Vincent” and as The Inventor in Edward Scissorhands, and, like with that relationship, the one between wide-eyed Wood and an aging Lugosi boasts a delightful mutual appreciation. While Ed Wood capitalizes on the odd couple for comedic effect (it’s tough not to laugh as an Energizer Bunny-like Wood shepherds around a moribund, ever-frowning Lugosi), the bromance always comes off as weirdly sweet. Ed Wood was a labor of love for him — in fact, Burton, who demanded creative control, even waived a paycheck.THE PERFORMANCES ARE ACE(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)The success of any buddy comedy — and boiled down, Ed Wood is one — rests on the chemistry of its stars. Depp upped his game, giving a performance that’s all gusto and unrelenting optimism and over-the-top tics yet still somehow grounded. Wood’s ridiculous, but you pull for him. Landau, too, imbues what could be a cartoonish Lugosi essentially, his Dracula character thrown into ’50s California, complete with the accent, mannerisms, and gait with some real emotional heft, and he rightfully nabbed a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Sarah Jessica Parker is a great comedic foil as Wood’s encouraging (and later disapproving) girlfriend, and Bill Murray is brilliantly deadpan as aspiring transsexual John Bunny Breckinridge.THE SCRIPT SIZZLES(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)“We envisioned Ed Wood as more of an indie-style picture, because we had written two big Hollywood hits that we were very unsatisfied with,” co-writer Larry Karaszewski told Medium, referencing the Problem Child movies. You can see what he means: He and Scott Alexander’s script, written in a mere six weeks after the go-ahead from Burton, has a quirky, left-field, character-driven quality that doesn’t scream “huge studio” (like, say, Disney) or “big-deal director” (like, say, Burton). So Burton reining in the very sensibilities that made him a name is necessary, especially with a script packed with this much snappy dialogue. Just take this exchange between Wood and Breckinridge, during the filming of Plan 9 from Outer Space:Breckinridge: What about glitter? When I headlined in Paris, audiences always loved it when I sparkled.Ed Wood: No.Breckinridge: Cats eyes?Ed Wood: No!Breckinridge: Well, I m going to need some antennae.Ed Wood: No! You re the ruler of the galaxy — show a little taste!IT WAS AHEAD OF ITS TIME(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)Ed Wood may have not saturated the zeitgeist and spawned copycats the way Pulp Fiction did in ’94, but it’s not too much of a leap to suggest it helped open the door for other love letters to ragtag groups of outsider filmmakers with questionable tastes. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights a few years later similarly embraced the freak-flag spirit of the early porn industry. Interestingly, Wood’s line about Plan 9 from Outer Space (“This is the one I’ll be remembered for”) is echoed by Nights’ Burt Reynolds, talking about his directorial opus (“This is the film I want them to remember me by”). (Also interesting: Wood helmed porn in ’70s.) Wes Anderson’s seafaring adventure-comedy The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Disaster Artist, a big-screen retelling of the making of “the worst movie ever,” also have traces of Ed Wood. And Wood’s spirit was alive and well in documentaries about enthusiastic, unfazed, unrealistic dreamers — be they about aspiring filmmakers (American Movie) or rock bands (Anvil! The Story of Anvil).Ed Wood opened nationwide on October 7, 1994.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.