In the new trailer for Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, DiCaprio's newest screen alter ego is not doing well at all. As former cowboy movie star turned second-rate TV star Rick Dalton tells his friend and stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), "It's official, old buddy. I'm a has-been."
Margot Robbie's Sharon Tate, on the other hand, is on the rise. Shot in glowing pastels, the doomed actress is already ghostly, seeming to float through scenes that sketch her growing awareness of her own celebrity.
Tarantino has gone out of his way to point out that Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood is not a "Charles Manson movie."
Manson is there, though, as are the addled hippies who did his bidding. Still, unless you saw the film at Cannes (and Tarantino could still make edits, anyway), it's hard to tell just how big a role the cult plays from the synopsis:
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.
It's a stone-cold truth that the Summer of 1969 was one of those rare times when you could almost see history switching gears and revving up to cross into another era. Tarantino is just old enough to remember it.
We'll see if he really captured that feeling -- and just what the hell Bruce Lee is doing in this movie -- when Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood hits theaters on July 26.