Director Quentin Tarantino has added seven new cast members for his highly-anticipated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, bringing in Damian Lewis, Luke Perry, Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning, Clifton Collins Jr, Keith Jefferson and Nicholas Hammond. They join a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Burt Reynolds, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen and Tim Roth. With production expected to get started this summer, it remains to be seen how many more cast members will be added to the production in the coming weeks and months.
The story centers on an actor named Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), who used to star on an incredibly popular Western TV series, and his longtime stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). They have both found themselves struggling in a new Hollywood they don't recognize anymore in the summer of 1969. The plot thickens when Dalton gets a new next door neighbor, rising star Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). Tate was murdered along with three others at her house on Cileo Drive on August 9, 1969, and the murder is believed to be a pivotal part of the story. Burt Reynolds is playing George Spahn, who owned the ranch that the Manson Family rented out while planning the murders, although it isn't known who Olyphant, Madsen, Russell and Roth are playing.
As for the new cast members, Damian Lewis is set to play iconic Hollywood star Steve McQueen, while Fanning is portraying the Manson Family member known as Squeaky Fromme, who would later try to assassinate President Gerald Ford. Collins will play Ernesto the Mexican Vaquero, with Keith Jefferson as Land Pirate Keith, Luke Perry as Scotty Lancer, while Hammond is playing director Sam Wanamaker and Hirsch is playing Jay Sebring, a Hollywood hairstylist who was another one of the four victims of the Tate murders. While there is no known connection between Sam Wanamaker and the Tate murders, it seems Tarantino will be exploring McQueen's connection to the killings.
The Manson Family wasn't actually intending on killing Sharon Tate at all on August 9, 1969. They were planning to murder record producer Terry Melcher, a former acquaintance of Manson who had previously rented out that house on Cileo Drive, which Tate lived at with her husband, film director Roman Polanski, who at the time was in London scouting locations for a film. As for McQueen, he was a good friend of both Tate and Sebring, with the latter actually inviting McQueen to Tate's house on the night of the murder, although he declined after the girlfriend he was with suggested they stay in. Two months after the murder, police found a "hit list" with McQueen's name on it, with the actor reportedly being targeted for turning down a screenplay written by Manson. McQueen reportedly carried a handgun with him at all times following Tate's death, including at Sebring's funeral, where he delivered the eulogy.
Sony Pictures has set an August 9, 2019 release date for Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, which marks the exact 50th anniversary of the Tate murders. Tarantino is directing from his own original screenplay and producing alongside David Heyman and Shannon McIntosh. Deadline broke the news on this casting earlier today.