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Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino shares details on new Once Upon A Time In Hollywood novel

Described as a ‘complete rethinking’ of the film, the book will delve into the past of Brad Pitt’s character, Cliff Booth

Quentin Tarantino has shared new details on his forthcoming novelisation of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, ahead of the book’s scheduled release on June 29. Discussing the book on the Pure Cinema podcast (where he floated the idea of creating a novel based on the film in April last year), the writer-director describes it as a “complete rethinking” of the film’s narrative.

“I think if you’re a fan of the movie, you will get a kick out of reading the book, and exploring the characters further and deeper,” he says, “and learning secrets that you didn’t know, and (that) were not in the movie.”

“It’s not just me taking the screenplay and then breaking it down in a novelistic form. I retold the story as a novel. So it’s not like, ‘Oh, okay, well he obviously had a few scenes left over, so he just took the screenplay and novelized it and threw in a few extra scenes.’ It was a complete rethinking of the entire story and not just a rethinking as far as throwing in some scenes that were left out of the editing room. I did so much research.”

According to Tarantino, the project was in the works for five years. “There was so much stuff that I wrote and I explored that I never even typed up,” he adds, “because there was no way it was going to make the movie.” 

The novel, he suggests, allowed him to create an “unwieldy version” of the movie, which will delve deeper into the backstory of Cliff Booth, the enigmatic stuntman played by Brad Pitt. “There’s these isolated chapters that tell you, like, this whole chapter will be about Cliff’s past. And every isolated chapter that’s just about Cliff’s past is like a weird little pulp novel unto itself starring Cliff.”

In January 2020, Tarantino featured in a 30-minute making-of documentary that showcased the production of the Oscar-nominated film, titled A Love Letter To Making Movies. He’s also previously discussed plans to turn the film’s fictional Western TV series Bounty Law into a real show, planning to write and direct all of the episodes himself.

In more Quentin Tarantino news, it was recently revealed that his original wish list for the cast of Pulp Fiction included some very different names to those that ended up starring in the film, with lead actors John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson both featuring as second choices for their respective roles.