Tarantino hopes Once Upon A Time In Hollywood changed Sharon Tate's legacy

Played by Margot Robbie in his ninth film, the legendary director hopes Tate is no longer 'defined' by her brutal murder.

by George Griffiths
17 July 2021, 10:21am

Images via Getty/Sony Pictures

Quentin Tarantino hopes that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood has helped the late Sharon Tate to not be ‘defined’ by her murder.

For his ninth feature film, the legendary director composed a semi-revisionist fable with Tate (played by Margot Robbie) and her brutal murder at the hands of the Manson Family being wiped from history.

In 1969, a heavily pregnant Tate and several of her friends were murdered by members of the Manson Family cult at the home she shared with director Roman Polanski in Hollywood. An ascendant star at the time of her death, Tate’s murderers are all currently serving sentences in prison.

It’s clear from the film that Tarantino believes that Tate’s death was a determined shift in the end of the Golden Age of Hollywood, something he sought to address in the feature film, which functions as a parable for Hollywood’s lost innocence, something the director links directly with Tate’s death and its aftermath.

Now, as he promotes his much-anticipated novelisation of the film, Tarantino discussed his reasoning behind featuring Tate in the film. Speaking on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show, Tarantino said he actively sought to help re-cast Sharon Tate’s legacy.

“I think it’s horrible that she’s been defined by her murder,” the director said. “And one of the things that I can say about the film that I am absolutely proud of, because of the movie, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case anymore. I don’t think she is defined by her victim status.”

Tarantino went on to say that Margot Robbie’s performance as the late actress - a slim presence for most of the film’s near three-hour running time, but its dazzling heart and soul - has helped introduce Tate and her oeuvre to a new generation.

“I think people were intrigued [by Robbie as Tate],” he said. “I think they looked [the actual Tate] up. Getting a sense of her from the movie, if you watch those [Manson history] specials, they’re really heartbreaking because she means something to you now, as opposed to just a statistic.”

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Tarantino’s most recent cinematic effort. His ninth feature film as a director, it also starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, who won an Oscar for his role as stuntman sidekick Cliff Booth. The accompanying novelisation is Tarantino’s first work as a published author, and a TV spin-off series, Bounty Law, is in the works.

Tarantino’s mythical tenth (and supposedly final) film is yet to materialise.

Quentin Tarantino