We nearly had a very different version of this upcoming film. Tom Cruise was almost cast in Brad Pitt’s Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood role. The latest film is director Quentin Tarantino’s ninth feature and showcases a slew of actors he’s worked with before, along with some new famous faces.
The director spoke candidly about almost going with a different choice in an interview with the Happy Sad Confused podcast. Pitt, who plays Cliff Booth, a stunt double to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, in the upcoming film, was almost not in the picture. Tarantino revealed that he initially reached out to Tom Cruise for the role before casting Pitt. Cruise is known for his impressive stunt work and rigor on the set of action films, like the Mission: Impossible franchise. The stunt double character seemed almost tailor-made for the actor. “We talked about it,” Tarantino said of Cruise potentially taking the role. “He’s a great guy, and we really hit it off and it could happen on something else.”
Tarantino also touched on whether or not Pitt and DiCaprio (who had never starred in a movie together before) were the filmmaker’s first choices for the respective roles. “The reality of it was, people ask, ‘Was it always these two guys?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, it’s the casting coup of the decade,’” Tarantino shared. “You can’t count on that. They both have to respond to it, they both have to want to play the roles, they have to be available. There’s a whole lot of stuff there.”
“The reality is, I had maybe eight different pairings of actors that could go together in a realistic way in this situation,” the filmmaker continued. “Now, the ones that I got were definitely my number ones.”
The director’s ninth picture takes place in the late 1960s and follows DiCpario’s Rick Dalton and Pitt’s Cliff Booth as a washed-up actor and his stunt double, respectively. At the same time, Hollywood is changing and getting far grimmer than it was before with the introduction of the Manson “family” and the late actress, Sharon Tate — played by Margot Robbie. The three cast members and Tarantino have been promoting the film since its debut at the Cannes Film Festival and have had a swell time with photoshoots and entertaining interviews.
Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood opens in theaters Friday, July 26.