With production slated to begin later this summer, Quentin Tarantino has added four more cast members to his 1969-set film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds has joined the cast in a major role as George Spahn, the blind man who owned the ranch Charles Manson and his followers lived on for months, before they murdered actress Sharon Tate in cold blood in the summer of 1969. Also joining the cast in unspecified smaller roles are QT regulars Tim Roth, Kurt Russell and Michael Madsen.
Original reports claimed this movie would center on the 1969 murder of actress Sharon Tate by the Manson family, but that turned out to be incorrect. While the murder will be featured in this movie, the plot will revolve around a number of different stories, much like Tarantino's 1994 breakout hit Pulp Fiction. The two lead characters will be Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), the former star of a huge Western TV series, and his longtime stunt double, Clint Booth (Brad Pitt), who are both struggling in a Hollywood they don't recognize anymore at the height of the counterculture movement. The story will be set in the summer of 1969, months before the murder of Sharon Tate, who happens to be Rick's next-door neighbor.
George Spahn was an 80-year-old man who owned the Spahn Ranch in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles, which he would rent out for use in movie Westerns. Charles Manson ended up convincing Spahn to let him and his "family" stay on the ranch, and in exchange, the female members of the Manson family were ordered to have sex with Spahn, and also serve as seeing-eye guides for the nearly-blind man. The Sharon Tate murders were said to be planned during the Manson Family's time on the ranch. The Spahn Ranch and movie sets burned down in 1970, and the property burned in another fire in 2005.
Although he has continued to work steadily throughout the years, this George Spahn role is expected to be a huge comeback for the 82-year-old Burt Reynolds, and his biggest role since playing pornographer Jack Horner in the 1997 hit Boogie Nights. Quentin Tarantino has an affinity for giving his favorite stars of yesteryear comeback roles like Lawrence Tierney (Reservoir Dogs), John Travolta (Pulp Fiction), Pam Grier and Robert Forster (Jackie Brown), David Carradine (Kill Bill), Michael Parks (Death Proof), Rod Taylor (Inglourious Basterds), Franco Nero (Django Unchained) and Gene Jones (The Hateful Eight). While doing press for his memoir Enough About Me in 2015, Reynolds told Deadline he was "pining" to make a comeback with a role like this, and now he has his chance.
Margot Robbie is still in talks to portray Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and it isn't clear yet how many other major roles have yet to be cast. Quentin Tarantino is directing from his own original script, with Sony Pictures setting the movie for release on August 9, 2019, which marks the exact 50th anniversary of Sharon Tate's grisly murder. This project will mark Tim Roth's fifth collaboration with Tarantino, (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms and The Hateful Eight), while it marks Kurt Russell's third (Death Proof and The Hateful Eight) and Michael Madsen's fourth (Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill and The Hateful Eight). Deadline broke the casting news earlier today.