Once upon a time in Cannes: lining up greet the media - (from left) Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino and Margot Robbie Photo: Festival de Cannes
After all yesterday’s Cannes Film Festival brouhaha surrounding Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood it was time for the one-time wunderkind to meet the media who on the critics’ grids have given it a mixed reception from the negative to the wildly enthusiastic.
Tarantino was asked today (22 May) if he had run the idea past Roman Polanski who was married to Sharon Tate (reincarnated by Margot Robbie) at the time of her murder and appears as a character. “I’ve met Roman a couple of times,” said Tarantino.
“He was one of the hottest directors at that period. His film of Rosemary’s Baby, which I like a lot, made something like $35 million. I am a fan of Polanski’s work but particularly Rosemary’s Baby. But I absolutely didn’t discuss my film with him,” he confirmed.
Tarantino’s ode to a golden age of Hollywood starts in 1969 and features the Charles Manson cult and the enduring fascination with the murders. Tarantino added that it was “the impossibility of truly being able to understand it is what causes the fascination.”
The director was asked about scenes that featured “rage against women” but managed to avoid giving any direct answers by shielding himself behind his declaration against spoilers. Brad Pitt came to his rescue by suggesting that “I didn't see it as a rage against individuals, but a rage against a loss of innocence."
Leonardo DiCaprio admitted that he had a close identification with his character of a down on his uppers TV star looking to rise back up the ladder again. “"I think everyone at this table has felt like outsiders looking in to this industry," he said.
The actor added: “This movie is his love letter to his industry with these two characters who are outsiders.... It’s really a love letter to the industry and the people Tarantino appreciates.”
Although Margot Robbie has less screen time than her two male cohorts she had no complaints. “I think the moments that I got onscreen gave an opportunity to honour Sharon and her lightness. I don't think it was intended to delve deeper. As Brad mentioned, I think the tragedy was ultimately the loss of innocence and to show those wonderful sides of her could be done quickly without speaking, and I did feel like I had a lot of time to explore the character even without dialogue."
After its red carpet première last night the film has made it onto a trade magazines poll of critics with an average score of 3.0, behind Pedro Almodovar’s Pain And Glory on 3.3 and Celine Ciamma’s Portrait Of A Lady On Fire. The critics on the Screen jury at the Festival gave it a mixture of scores including four four stars with one contributor labelling it with an X meaning “bad”.