Quentin Tarantino’s big screen film about Manson-era Hollywood is about to get a whole lot bigger. The famed movie producer is eyeing box office legend Burt Reynolds for a role in his upcoming film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Reynolds is in talks to join superstars Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in the film in the role of George Spahn, the near-blind elderly man who routinely rented out his Los Angeles property, The Spahn Ranch, to be used as the location for Western movies. According to Deadline, Charles Manson convinced Spahn to allow him and his “family” to live on the ranch rent-free in the months before they murdered Sharon Tate and six other people, including coffee heiress Abigail Folger, in a 1969 murder spree. In lieu of rent, Manson allegedly ordered his female followers to sleep with Spahn and serve as his seeing eye guides. Spahn also reportedly gave some of the Manson females, including Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, their nicknames.
In addition to Reynolds, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen are in negotiations to play smaller or cameo-style roles in the film. Those roles have not yet been revealed.
The movie, which was written by Tarantino, will be set in Los Angeles in 1969 and will follow fading TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt), who live next door to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate before the actress is murdered by Charles Manson’s cult. Margot Robbie is in negotiations to play Sharon Tate in the film, according to Variety.
Burt Reynolds himself was a TV star back in the era that Once Upon a Time in America is set. The actor starred in the late 1960s TV series Hawk and guest starred on shows like Gentle Ben and The F.B.I. before he became a major box office draw in the 1970s’ films Deliverance, The Longest Yard, and Smokey and the Bandit.
Quentin Tarantino has been vocal about his excitement about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Tarantino has already called the film “probably the closest to Pulp Fiction that I have done,” and he promised “the most exciting star dynamic since Paul Newman and Robert Redford” with DiCaprio and Pitt.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is slated for a worldwide release Aug. 9, 2019. The date marks the 50th anniversary of the day that the Manson family murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca and the day after Sharon Tate was killed.
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