Don’t Turn Your Back on This Film!
Just as convoluted as the murders themselves, the casting and distribution of this eagerly awaited movie was also riddled with intrigue and a few nefarious characters! On July 11, 2017, it was announced that Quentin Tarantino had written a screenplay for a film about the Manson Family murders, which he would direct as his next project.
Harvey and Bob Weinstein were to be involved, but it was not known whether their studio, The Weinstein Company would distribute the film as Tarantino sought to cast the film before sending out a package to studios.
However, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations, Tarantino severed ties with The Weinstein Company, and sought a new distributor, after working with Weinstein for his entire career. At this point Leonardo DiCaprio was revealed to be among the actors Tarantino was considering for the film.
A short time later, there were reports that the studios were still bidding for the film set in Los Angeles in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and that Tom Cruise was also in talks for one of two lead male roles!
In November of 2017, Sony Pictures announced they would be distributing the film, having beaten out Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Annapurna Pictures and Lionsgate for the rights.
In order to secure the rights to distribute the film, Sony Pictures had to agree to Tarantino's demands, which included "a $95 million production budget, final cut and "extraordinary creative controls," plus 25% of first-dollar gross.
Another demand was that the rights to the movie revert to him after 10 to 20 years." During a publicity interview by The Hollywood Reporter, Margot Robbie, when inquired about her potential involvement in the Tarantino-helmed film, noted that "Nothing's official … but I would kill to work with him."
In January 2018, DiCaprio signed to star in the film, taking a pay cut in order to collaborate with Tarantino again. It was also revealed that Pitt and Tom Cruise had been up for the same role, that of a "prosecutor", but Pitt had to pass due to scheduling conflicts, so the role was Cruise's if he wanted it.
On February 28, 2018, the film was officially titled Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, with Pitt cast in a different role. But now it appears he is back in the original role as the “prosecutor” and we can’t find Cruise listed in any of the casting reports!