How Margaret Qualley Scored a Role in a Tarantino Film: "Book a Ticket to Panama"

Margaret Qualley_Brad Pitt_Split - Getty - H 2019
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images; Samir Hussein/WireImage

Margaret Qualley's mom may be a famous movie star — Andie MacDowell — but her dad has clairvoyant superpowers. After the 24-year-old actress flubbed her first audition for a part in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, she got a call from her father, Paul Qualley, a contractor in Panama, suggesting she pop down for a visit.

"Book a ticket to Panama and you'll get a Quentin Tarantino movie," he told her, unaware that she'd just auditioned for one. "You know how when you make plans, sometimes life gets in the way and you get work?" he added.

Qualley did as her dad suggested — "I was like, 'OK, yeah, sure,' " she recounted to The Hollywood Reporter at the film's July 23 premiere. And sure enough, not long after she landed, she got a call from her UTA agent telling her to come back to L.A. for a chemistry read with Brad Pitt (which is how Qualley ended up playing Pussycat, the Manson Family hitchhiker who offers Pitt's character oral sex in his car). "I was like, 'No freaking way! Are you kidding me, dude?!' So it turns out that my dad is psychic."

As for landing the part and working with Pitt? "I did the chemistry read with insane butterflies, so very nervous and trying to not sweat so much. He's one of the most generous actors I've ever worked with and one of the most generous people I've ever met. He's so humble and so kind. I'm insanely fortunate."

A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.