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In an interview with CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast to promote his novelization of the 2019 Sony film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, the Oscar-winning writer-director gave more insight into his material and admitted he made a cut to the film that made both himself and DiCaprio emotional. However, the scene does take place in the novelization.
The moment in question is between DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton and Julia Butters’ Trudi Fraser (the young actress in the fictitious Lancer pilot within the film), who share an evening phone conversation after their first day on set, which is in the movie. Basically, the two share a moving conversation about how lucky they are to be in the business before they do a line reading of their following day’s scene. The moment is poignant, but also heartfelt, giving more insight into the Dalton character.
Tarantino said that was tough to say goodbye to in the cutting room — but he had no choice.
“That was my favorite scene in the script,” Tarantino said on the podcast. “So the idea that that wouldn’t be in the movie was unfathomable. That was my favorite scene in the script. I think it was probably Leo’s favorite scene that he shot. We were in tears. It was the only time— I’ve gotten misty-eyed every once in a while shooting this scene versus that scene. But that scene, I mean, Julia and I were in tears every time we finished every take. We were just really proud of that sequence.”
Tarantino further explained, “The reason it’s not in the film is — it’s a two-fold reason. It seems like an ending to the movie, which, actually was OK in the script, because in the script, I looked at everything that happens in February as part of a three-act structure — and then the stuff that happens on the night of the murder as an epilogue. But that was the wrong way to think about it. Once we started putting the movie together, the stuff that happens in August isn’t an epilogue, it’s the third act. We’ve got to look at it that way. And so, they pulled off the scene. The scene is terrific. It’s not about them. But when we really worked on assembly … we realized that after the Spahn Ranch, that ends the February section. There’s no coming back from that. That is the ending of that. And now we can’t just end it with the Spahn Ranch. So the idea is, after Spahn Ranch, we have to wrap up February as soon as we possibly can. And then once we do, then we go into August. And that happens a lot in movies. You drop scenes that are really terrific, but a timeline imposes itself on the cut.”
The entire moment is in the book and fans can even get a tiny glimpse of it in the film during the commercial for the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood novelization.
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