Quentin Tarantino on the Movies and Stars That Inspired ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

“We can have a real ’60s summer here, setting up for it,” said Quentin Tarantino as he settled in for a nearly three-hour conversation about his July programming at his New Beverly Cinema, a survey of the 1960s films that inspired his forthcoming “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The movie is Tarantino’s love letter to the filmmaking era that made him fall in love with cinema as a kid. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie, and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year to considerable acclaim. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” opens in theaters on July 26.

“I did that ’60s kinda thing, but now I wanted to get more into the interior of the Hollywood that this movie is discussing,” Tarantino told Pure Cinema Podcast hosts Elric Kane and Brian Saur. Setting up “Hollywood,” he explains that DiCaprio plays an actor named Rick Dalton, who after a successful TV series is trying to make the transition to film.

“But it’s not just, what he’s dealing with is even more than the TV to movies transition, as big a deal as that is… is the culture has changed underneath him. Like the entire earth has gone topsy turvy as far as he’s concerned, and for a whole era of leading men, and so there’s an aspect of Rick Dalton is made up of a bunch of these guys. So he’s a bit like George Maharis, he’s a bit like Edd Byrnes, he’s a bit like Tab Hunter, he’s a bit like Fabian, he’s a bit like Vince Edwards. These are all guys that were handsome kind of he man, leading, Ty Hardin, a certain kind of leading man that were handsome and most of them were kinda rugged. They spent their careers running pocket combs through their pompadours. And then all of a sudden, … and now the leading men are these long shaggy haired androgynous types, so it’s like Michael Sarrazin, Peter Fonda the young Michael Douglas, skinny androgynous, Arlo Guthrie is starring in movies, the hippie sons of famous people, and if Rick’s gonna get a part in a movie with them he’s probably gonna be the cop thats busting them.”

He then expounds on many of the movies in the New Beverly’s July program, which includes the Vince Edwards-led “The Mad Bomber,” “Barbarella,” the Raquel Welch double feature “Fantastic Voyage” and “100 Rifles,” the Jane Fonda double feature “Cat Ballou” and “The Chase,” the Natalie Wood double feature “Gypsy” and “This Property Is Condemned,” and many more.

Listen to the full conversation below.

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