When Quentin Tarantino was assembling the cast for his ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, film fans everywhere were salivating over the sheer amount of talent attached, a star-studded cast rivaled only in upcoming films by Denis Villeneuve’s Dune and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. While Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s amazing cast is exciting for audiences, it is also great for the actors themselves. When asked if there was any trepidation to working with other A-listers, Brad Pitt responded:
Hell no, man. You don't have to carry, the whole thing. You've got these other great people who are the best of the best and are going to help carry that load. It's actually a relief.
Brad Pitt was unequivocal that he had no apprehension about sharing the screen with another big name actor like Leonardo DiCaprio, whom he had never worked with before (though they did appear on Growing Pains at separate times). Rather than looking at a film like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, with multiple A-listers, as a delicate situation where everyone is jockeying for position, he instead looked at it as a situation where the amount of talent made things easier overall.
As he told Today, Brad Pitt was relieved that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood wasn’t all riding on him in front of the camera. That doesn’t mean he was looking to slack off or anything, just that it made the experience easier. Brad Pitt knew that he wouldn’t have to carry Leonardo DiCaprio through a scene and there was no question about the abilities or commitment of those around him.
Brad Pitt had complete confidence that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s other A-listers would bring it and without having to worry about his co-stars or about all eyes being on him, he presumably felt a little less pressure and was able to give his best performance.
As far as Brad Pitt’s co-star Leonardo DiCaprio was concerned, the fact that they are both A-listers only ever crossed his mind as a positive, as he explained:
I don't think either of us thought about it in that context. It's what's best for the film. I've admired the choices that he's [Pitt] taken through his career…you're trying to create a piece of art here
The way Leo sees it, having the best actors possible is what was best for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, period. They as a collective are trying to create a piece of art and assembling the A-list talent that Quentin Tarantino did is a great way to help that art come to life. It's also a great way to get people excited for the film and the prospect of seeing these actors share the screen.
Therefore, things that those on the outside might see as potential problems, like the dynamic between two big name actors, never even occurred to them. This isn't like rival pop stars, these are actors all working towards a common goal. Ideally all that talent helps keep everyone on top of their games and makes them all better.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens in theaters on July 26. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the biggest movies coming in the second half of this year.