Quentin Tarantino’s eagerly anticipated and star-studded ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday, alongside the release of a new trailer. On Wednesday morning, director Quentin Tarantino and stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie fielded questions about the film from reporters at the festival and that’s where things got a bit testy.
Quentin Tarantino got snippy about a question from a New York Times reporter about Margot Robbie’s role in the film, according to Variety. Specifically, the reporter mentioned Margot Robbie’s acting talents and reeled off the names of some of the acclaimed films she’s been in. They then mentioned that Robbie doesn’t get many lines as Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and asked why that was, to which Quentin Tarantino responded:
Well, I just reject your hypothesis.
The auteur seemed none to thrilled at the question and left his answer at that. He didn’t bother to actually address why Margot Robbie didn’t have more lines in the film, instead limiting his response to a terse rebuke of the question’s very premise.
Quentin Tarantino was clearly unhappy and took issue with either the notion that Margot Robbie was underused in his film and/or the possible subtext of the question as to why an actress of her caliber had such a limited role.
The exchange and Quentin Tarantino’s snippy response appeared to make for quite the awkward press conference moment. The question was also directed at Margot Robbie and she got to cut the tension with her own, more verbose answer, saying:
I think the moments I was on screen gave a moment to honor Sharon… I think the tragedy was the loss of innocence. To show the wonderful sides of her could be done without speaking. I did feel like I got a lot of time to explore the character without dialogue, which is an interesting thing. Rarely do I get an opportunity to spend so much time on my own as a character.
Margot Robbie seems to be quite pleased with her experience filming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and framed her limited dialogue in the film as something of an acting challenge. The actress got to just live in the character on her own and convey Sharon Tate’s innocence and how wonderful she was in non-verbal ways.
The Oscar-nominated actress views the scenes she is in in the film as honoring Sharon Tate and serving the story, and if she did feel displeased with or underutilized in the role, she didn’t say so. It was deftly handled by Margot Robbie, who was basically being asked ‘Hey, should this guy sitting next to you, who cast you in his movie, have given you more lines?’ Like a true pro, she gave a good answer to diffuse an awkward moment.
Even if this wasn’t going to be one of the points of discussion around Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, it probably will now given Quentin Tarantino’s response. However, without having seen the film, it’s tough to evaluate the fairness and merit of the question or Margot Robbie’s role as Sharon Tate.
Those who have seen Once Upon a Time in Hollywood seemed to really enjoy it, with the early reactions out of Cannes highlighting the humor and the performance while also noting that it may be controversial.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens in theaters on July 26. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all of this summer's biggest movies.