Quentin Tarantino Casts His Roman Polanski in ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

     August 28, 2018


The cast for Quentin Tarantino’s new film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood just keeps growing, even as filming has been underway for weeks. To be fair, this film has a giant ensemble so adding bit players to do a scene here and there isn’t difficult to do during production—but one major role has now been filled: that of filmmaker Roman Polanski. Indeed, when it was first announced that Tarantino was moving ahead on a new movie, the initial reported plot details were that it was a film revolving around the Manson Murders. That turned out to be a bit inaccurate, as it soon became clear that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is about Charles Manson the way that Inglourious Basterds is about Adolf Hitler—that is to say, the figure appears in the film, but isn’t a main character.

The story of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood takes place in 1969 and follows a fading Western TV star (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double (Brad Pitt) who wonder where their place in Hollywood is at the turn of the decade. Additionally, DiCaprio’s character lives next door to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), who of course was brutally murdered by Manson’s followers.


Image via Sony Pictures

A major question arose, then, as to whether Tarantino would also be including Roman Polanski as a character in the film. We now know for sure that he is, and THR reports that Polanski will be played by Polish actor Rafal Zawierucha, who’s pretty much an unknown here in the States.

It’s unclear how much screentime will be given to Polanski, and we still don’t know for certain if Charles Manson is in the film and who’s playing him. THR says that Danny Strong, Sydney Sweeney, Clu Gulager, James Landry Hébert, and Mikey Madison have also now been added to the massive ensemble, but for those worried this thing is going to be overstuffed, it sounds very much like this will be an Inherent Vice-like situation. The film has already been described as Pulp Fiction-esque in structure and scope, so while there are a lot of people in this movie, it sounds like Tarantino is filling out every single role with a known performer, even if the role only has a couple of lines. Which is pretty perfect considering this is a movie about Hollywood.

Production continues and we still have a ways to wait until the film’s July 26, 2019 release date, but I wonder if Tarantino is aiming for a Cannes Film Festival debut in May as he’s done with some of his previous films. If that’s the case, we may get our first reactions to the film earlier than expected.

The announced ensemble for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood now also includes Lena Dunham, Maya Hawke, Timothy OlyphantBurt ReynoldsDamian LewisLuke PerryDakota Fanning, James MarsdenClifton CollinsKeith JeffersonEmile HirschTim RothMichael MadsenScoot McNairyAl Pacino, and Nicholas Hammond, among others.

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