The first trailer for Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood came out last week, giving fans their first look at all the real-life characters in the film.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood follows Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth, a fictionalized actor and stunt double duo from 1969. Beyond them, many of the people in Tarantino's historical drama are real, and some will even be alive to see themselves immortalized on film.
Tarantino is known for his fixation on certain cultural touchstones that influenced him as a kid. Many of his movies pay homage to the genres and conventions that captivated him when he was young, and it looks like this new one will take it a step further, examining the culture of that media as well.
In addition, Tarantino is perhaps even better known for his gritty, explicit and violent material, often ranging into the extreme. With that in mind, it was no surprise when he announced that his new movie would be connected to Charles Manson and the murder of Sharon Tate.
There has been a lot of backlash to Tarantino's subject material, but the director has not wavered. He has done his best to be sensitive, however, going so far as to include Tate's sister in the filmmaking process to ensure that she does not feel slighted.
The same may not be said for all the historical figures represented in the movie. Here are all the real people present in the trailer for Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie)
Of course, the most prominent person being re-imagined for the screen is Sharon Tate herself. The trailer gives fans their first look at Margot Robbie in character, dancing in flashy 1960s attire in front of a psychedelic set piece just as Tate once did.
Some fans even think the shot might be a direct reference to Tate's film Valley of the Dolls or The Wrecking Crew.prevnext
The Manson Girls
Manson's cult followers were also real people, and while they may never have gained the individual fame of Tate, their representation is real nonetheless. In this shot, it is clear that Margaret Qualley of The Leftovers is playing one of them -- a character named Kitty Kat, likely based on the real-life cultist Kitty Lutesinger.
Clerks director Kevin Smith's daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, is also visible in this shot as one of the infamous Manson girls.prevnext
Bruce Lee (Mike Moh)
Fans are already buzzing about Mike Moh's spot on impression of acclaimed martial artist Bruce Lee.
The scene appears to show Lee training Cliff Booth, likely a nod to his real-life work with some massive Hollywood stars at the time. Moh's martial arts matches the actor's seamlessly, and the set appears to be based on the house where Tate was eventually murdered.prevnext
Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch)
Emile Hirsch is in the scene as well, playing Hollywood hairstylist and Tate's ex, Jay Sebring.
Sebring was an avid fan of Lee's in real life, so it makes sense to see them together. He eventually got Lee his job on The Green Hornet, and later helped him find influential clients to train, such as Steve McQueen. Sebring was ultimately murdered alongside Tate.prevnext
Mama Cass (Rachel Redleaf)
In a stacked party scene, fans are speculating the women dancing with Tate are meant to be Mama Cass and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas.
Cass was well-connected in Hollywood, and rumor has it that she knew Manson in addition to Tate.prevnext
Charles Manson (Damon Herriman)
Of course, the infamous cult leatder himself made a short appearance in the trailer. Manson will be played by Damon Herriman of Justified fame.
The actor is also playing Manson in Mindhunter, the thriller from Netflix, so the timing is perfect for this film.prevnext
Sam Wanamaker (Nicholas Hammond)
The last, and perhaps most obscure real-life appearance in the trailer is that of Sam Wanamaker, played by Nicholas Hammond. Hammond is known for playing Friedrich von Trapp in The Sound of Music, while Wanamaker directed Burt Reynolds in Gunsmoke.
This shot also provides a glimpse of Timothy Olyphant, playing a character named James Stacy, and Luke Perry, playing Scott Lancer. This will be Perry's final film appearance following his tragic death earlier this month.prevnext
Fictional Substitutes: Burt Reynold, Hal Needham, Tom Brokaw and Scott Lancer
Finally, it is worth noting some of the characters who Tarantino chose to fictionalize, separating them from their real-life counterparts. For starters, there are DiCaprio and Pitt's characters, Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth. It is widely believed that they are based on Burt Reynolds and his stuntman, Hal Needham from their classic run on Gunsmoke. This is evidenced strongest by the final scene in the trailer, where Wanamaker directs them on a western set.
Fans have also picked out the reporter at the beginning of the trailer as a possible stand-in for Tom Brokaw. The iconic anchor was on the air for NBC Nightly News in Los Angeles at the time, so it seems like a clear match.0comments
Lastly, Perry's character, Scott Lancer, seems to be based on the lead character by the same name in CBS' TV western Lancer from 1968 to 1970. Lancer was played by Wayne Maunder. Why exactly Tarantino chose to fictionalize some characters and not others will undoubtedly be a hot question for critics and film students going forward.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood hits theaters on July 26, 2019.prev