Screenwriter and dialogue writer of genius, Quentin Tarantino was also able to count for “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” on its two main actors to improvise a few lines. In particular on Brad Pitt, who drew on his personal experience to bring a line of dialogue that has become cult.
The ideal trio DiCaprio – Pitt – Tarantino
In its immense melancholic fresco that is Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino shines his two main actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. For them, and as is also the case for the other characters, the filmmaker composed a brilliant screenplay and dialogues as usual delicious. But, a notable change when you know the precision of Quentin Tarantino, he let his actors bring their inspirations and improvise on different occasions. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, respectively embodying an actor and his understudy, naturally melted into their characters and fed them with their personal experiences.
In an interview with Esquire published in May 2019, the director and his two actors return to the making of Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. They repeatedly make connections between fiction and Hollywood reality, especially regarding the acting profession. On this subject, Leonardo DiCaprio evokes her relationship with Brad Pitt during filming. And he takes as an example a cult sequence, the one where he arrives with a huge hangover on the film set of the series Throw.
When we made the film, my relationship with Brad started. Very early on, he improvised a line of dialogue and that changed everything. In the scene, as it was written, I arrive on set with a hangover and basically I face my destiny, I find out what my future is going to be in the industry. And that depresses me terribly. And in this scene, Brad improvises. He simply leaves this sentence: he looks at me and says “Hey, you’re Rick ‘fucking’ Dalton. Never forget that.”
“Hey, you’re Rick fucking Dalton. Don’t you forget it.”
In Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Rick Dalton is a former star on the way to becoming has-been. He sees it very badly, but he can count on the friendship and unwavering support of Cliff Booth, his understudy and handyman, which means to him that he remains a great actor, that he is someone, and that he can be trusted. Quentin Tarantino continues:
It was just a thing that Brad said… And eventually it became a big thing.
Brad Pitt then reveals where he came from this line of dialogue that has become cult.
It’s a true story. In the early 90s. I was on set and I was whining, complaining about something. I was really not on top. And this guy came over and just said, “Raise your head up, hold your head up. Stop complaining. You’re Brad ‘fucking’ Pitt. I wish I was Brad ‘fucking’ Pitt.”
He did me a great service. I needed to hear that. That day, it came back to me. The way Quentin had built the scene reminded me of that moment.
We will not know what shooting Brad Pitt is talking about, nor who was this person who gave him this valuable advice. Was it during the filming of coolworld by Ralph Bakshi? That of And in the middle flows a river by Robert Redford, or that of true romance by Tony Scott? The mystery remains, but it is certain that this anonymous person has done a great service to the career of Brad Pitt, and therefore also to Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.