Screen legend Burt Reynolds is in talks to play a Charles Manson-connected character in Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. In a recent interview, Quentin Tarantino said his upcoming 1969-set film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has a vibe similar to his classic Pulp Fiction. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as, respectively, a somewhat washed-up TV actor named Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth.
Though the new movie will focus on the Hollywood scene in the late ’60s, a pivotal time when the old studio system was dying and the so-called New Hollywood era was being ushered in, it will also peer at the darker side of Los Angeles at the dawn of the ’70s. Specifically, the film will in some capacity deal with notorious cult leader Charles Manson, and will also feature Manson Family victim Sharon Tate, who in the story is neighbors with lead characters Dalton and Booth. Margot Robbie reportedly remains in talks to play Tate.
As Tarantino’s vision continues coming together, more casting news has now come out, and the ensemble just continues to become more intriguing. As reported by Deadline, legendary actor Burt Reynolds is the latest big name set to climb aboard Tarantino’s journey back in time to the glory days of New Hollywood. Reynolds is in talks to play George Spahn, the elderly, nearly blind rancher who famously allowed the Manson family to live on his California property. According to legend, Spahn was responsible for bestowing soon-to-be-infamous nicknames on many of Manson’s followers, including “Tex” Watson and “Squeaky” Fromme. In addition to Reynolds, the production also reportedly will add Tim Roth, Kurt Russell and Michael Madsen to the cast.
Somewhat surprisingly given the director’s love for ’70s trash cinema, Reynolds has never yet appeared in a Quentin Tarantino film. The screen legend most recently starred in The Last Movie Star, for which he received strong reviews. Roth, Russell and Madsen meanwhile are all official Tarantino regulars. Roth appeared in the director’s debut filmReservoir Dogs and its follow up Pulp Fiction, and later returned to the fold for The Hateful Eight. Russell also starred in Hateful Eight, and prior to that worked for Tarantino as the crazed driver in Death Proof. But Madsen has the most history with Tarantino, having appeared in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and The Hateful Eight.
The addition of Reynolds to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is just one more example of Tarantino reaching back to the ’70s to cast one of his acting idols. The director first pulled off one of his “career rehab” casting jobs by plucking a slumping John Travolta and giving him the plum role of Vincent in Pulp Fiction. In Jackie Brown, Tarantino brought back both Pam Grier and Robert Forster for memorable, career-boosting lead roles. The director bestowed the same favor on David Carradine and Michael Parks when he gave them big roles in Kill Bill.