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‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’ teaser is strangely sunshiny

“That was the best acting I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”

Once upon a time in Hollywood, there were megastars and mayhem. Seriously, read the stories about the place in the late ‘60s.

But in the first footage for “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” also known as Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, glitz is all that is seen. No grim. A glitch in the works? Or is it by design, meaning a tonally darker teaser is on the way? Still, it’s noticeable that the title has little allusion to aggression unlike his previous films (“Kill Bill,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Inglorious Basterds,” etc.).  

Either way, here’s what we know about the film from its teaser. To the tune of “Bring A Little Lovin’” from Los Bravos, we follow the steps of TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) through a landscape peppered with neon, fashion, known icons — Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch) and surely more — and wickedness right below the surface — think M-rated entertainment and Charles Manson (Damon Herriman). It’s yet clear how one side of the town will be linked to the other, however.

That said, duality is also present in the making of the film. All that buzz aside — d.p. Robert Richardson said it’s a “tremendously unique film,” DiCaprio taking a pay cut to reteam with Tarantino and, if we’re counting, this is the Jackie Brown director’s penultimate effort — consider as well the controversial casting of Hirsch who was convicted for assault, handling of real-life crimes (original release date was set to line up with the 50th anniversary of the Tate’s murder) and reports of Tarantino’s on-set negligence in past films (Pitt’s Booth is seen driving a VW Karmann Ghia much like the one that hurt Uma Thurman).

Oh, and those questionably designed posters. Whoo…

You can sit comfortably and listen to Tarantino’s yarn about 1969 on July 26. The film is produced by Columbia Pictures, Harry Potter’s Heyday Films and “Operation Red Sea”’s Bona Film Group.

For more on the film and an eventual review, stay with The Young Folks.


P.S. At the same time the trailer for this film debuted, IFC Films also dropped a trailer for its own Charles Manson film, “Charlie Says,” co-written and directed by Mary Harron of “American Psycho.” Well done, publicists.