“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”: revisiting the Charles Manson murders

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is an upcoming  film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie that tells the story of actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double, Cliff Booth, as they navigate their way through the film industry.

The film is set in the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age (1969) in Los Angeles. Written, produced and directed by Quentin Tarantino, the film uses historical events,unraveling the horrific headlines of the Charles Manson murders and the death of Sharon Tate.

Although the two main characters, Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, are fictional, Dalton resides near the actress Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie) who is inspired by the real life Hollywood star of the same name and was murdered by members of the Manson family in the late 1960’s. The different characters are all affected by the murders that take place in the films, including the death of the illustrious actress, Sharon Tate.

The trailer hints at the Charles Manson murders, building the anticipation of the audience. Tarantino intertwines fictional characters and the Manson murders of the late 60’s to make this more than the average movie about the film industry.

Describing the struggle of the two main characters being able “to make it in a Hollywood they don’t recognize anymore,” Tarantino hints at the constant changes in the film industry.   

The tragic death of Sharon Tate at the hands of the Manson family is the premise of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”  The young actress, who was 8 months pregnant at the time, was stabbed to death by members of the Manson family. The Tate  family is still grieving the death of their late relative.

When the movie adaptation was first announced in the spring of 2018, Debra Tate (Sharon Tate’s sister) openly showed her discontent for the portrayal of her late sister, telling TMZ that, “to [celebrities] it’s a paycheck and these people just don’t care. They are terribly hurtful to the actual family and all the living victims.”

In a July 2018 interview with Quentin Tarantino, however,Tate sat down to discuss the concerns of the representation of her sister in the project, alleviating some of her previous dismay. She is now supportive of the film’s release, mainly because of Sony’s decision to change the release date so that it doesn’t release to theaters on the 50th anniversary of the tragic homicide,  a move which Debra Tate had found incredibly disrespectful.

The rest of the details will be released on  July 26, 2019 when “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is set to be released in theaters.