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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood's Tim Roth Talks Being Cut From The Quentin Tarantino Movie

Quentin Tarantino and Tim Roth go back to the beginning of the former’s filmmaking career, with the latter starring in Reservoir Dogs’ ensemble cast. These two later collaborated on Pulp Fiction and The Hateful Eight, although Roth’s scenes in Tarantino’s most recent movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, ended up being removed. Now Roth has shed light on how he learned he wouldn’t be present in the 2019 feature’s final cut.

For those unaware, Tim Roth was supposed to appear in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as Raymond, the butler of Emilie Hirsch’s Jay Sebring, Sharon Tate’s ex-boyfriend-turned-close friend. When Uproxx inquired about how he discovered he wouldn’t be present in the movie, Roth responded:

And, so, actually what happened was that he called me to play this character, which was a strand in the film, and then he cut that strand out completely. He cut that whole storyline out because when he put his first cut together, it came in at four and a half hours or five hours long. And he didn’t want to do a part one and two.

Evidently Jay Sebring had a much bigger role to play in Quentin Tarantino’s original vision for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but when stitching a movie together, it becomes necessary to trim out certain scenes to deliver a more reasonable runtime. Judging by Tim Roth’s comments, the only way his scenes would have worked in the larger story is if Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was split into two parts. That may have worked for Kill Bill, but Tarantino wasn’t willing to do that this time around.

Thus, Tim Roth ended up on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s cutting room floor, but the actor was still able to see the footage of himself thanks to a special screening Quentin Tarantino arranged. As Roth recalled:

So anyway, what he did, he got me over to his editing place where he was doing his thing. And he said to me, ‘I want to show you the scenes that you were in that I’m having to remove.’ And he sat and he screened them for me. And then he screened the film for me and so on. But in the process, I don’t think he’d even locked picture at that point. But it was very, very sweet of him to do that. But then he put in the credits, ‘Tim Roth (Cut).’ Which is so his sense of humor. My sons loved that. My sons, they love that.

An extended version of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was theatrically released in October 2019, four months after the original cut started playing on the big screen, but Tim Roth’s scenes were not among the extra material. That said, Quentin Tarantino said in June 2021 that he would likely release an even longer version of the movie (coming in at around three hours and 20 minutes) “in a couple years.” So perhaps Roth’s scenes could be thrown into that cut, although if you’re not willing to wait years to learn how Roth’s Raymond specifically fits into the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood picture, you’re always welcome to read the movie’s novelization.

At least Tim Roth can take comfort knowing he wasn’t the only actor who didn’t make Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s theatrical cut, as James Marsden and Danny Strong’s scenes were also taken out, as well as a voiceover from Walton Goggins. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood made over $374 million worldwide, and among its accolades was winning two Academy Awards (Best Supporting Actor and Best Production Design) and being nominated in eight other categories (including Best Picture).

Quentin Tarantino hasn’t announced yet what his final movie will be, but once that information is public, we’ll pass it along. Meanwhile, Tim Roth’s latest movie, Sundown, premiered at the Venice Film Festival last September, and he’ll be reprising Emil Blonsky/Abomination in Disney+’s She-Hulk series.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.