The veteran actor is one of a borderline-ridiculous number of actors who have been cast in the film. Set in late ‘60s L.A., Once Upon a Time in Hollywood follows former Western TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they struggle to navigate the Hollywood that’s changing around them. Dalton’s famous next-door neighbor is an emblem of that change, none other than actress (and wife of director Roman Polanski) Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), who was famously murdered at the hands of the Manson family in 1969.
Pacino, coming off his performance as Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in HBO’s Paterno, has been cast as Dalton’s agent. As an avid cinephile, Tarantino frequently casts actors who worked in the films he grew up watching, like Robert Forster in Jackie Brown or David Carradine in the Kill Bill franchise. Pacino’s roles in classic genre films like Scarface and The Godfather make him no exception.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood—which will be written, directed and produced by Tarantino—already boasts a wealth of talent in its cast. Yesterday, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry, Emile Hirsch, Damian Lewis, Keith Jefferson, Clifton Collins Jr. and Nicholas Hammond all signed onto the project, which you can read about in greater detail here. The film will also feature performances by Burt Reynolds, Kurt Russell, Timothy Olyphant, Michael Madsen and Tim Roth.
After a bidding war against Warner Bros. and Paramount, Sony paid a hefty price for the rights to the film, in addition to the film’s $100 million budget. DiCaprio settled a dispute over salary, eventually agreeing to take a 50 percent pay cut to appear in the film.
Tarantino claims that the film (his ninth) will also be his penultimate, as he plans to retire after 10. Concerns over the subject matter of the film have arisen, particularly given a clip from 2003 that has resurfaced in which Tarantino defends Polanski, claiming that the 13-year-old girl that Polanski drugged and raped “wanted to have it.”
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is scheduled to be released on Aug. 9, 2019, the fiftieth anniversary of Tate’s death. Check back for more updates on the film.