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Brad Pitt seems to be poised on the precipice of finally achieving Oscar glory (for his acting, anyway). So his role as Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has understandably been a topic of discussion in recent weeks. While much of our attention has been focused on his award-worthy performance, there’s one question that still seems to be lingering amongst his fellow celebs in Hollywood: Did Cliff Booth actually kill his wife or not?
One of the most intriguing aspects of Brad Pitt’s Once Upon a Time character is his backstory. Though he’s an industry veteran, Cliff Booth is down on his luck and having a hard time finding work because of a persistent rumor that it was the stuntman himself, and not an accident, that killed his wife. Quentin Tarantino never definitively says whether or not Cliff did it -- though Cliff more than proves he’s capable of violence by the end of the film. The lack of resolution on that plot point seems to be intentional -- and that fact has kept fans debating for months.
That includes some of Hollywood’s biggest film fans. When Collider asked a slew of celebrities whether Cliff Booth killed his wife or not, everyone seemed to have an opinion. And the respondents seemed pretty evenly split as to the matter of his guilt.
Those who are sure the stuntman killed his wife include Ron Howard, Zazie Beetz, and Bo Burnham. Documentary director Liz Garbus said, “He totally killed his wife. How is that a question?” And director Greg Barker had a pretty compelling case to make when he answered, “It’s Tarantino. Of course he did it.”
Some celebs, like Allison Tolman and director Eugene Kotlyarenko, didn’t even want to entertain the question -- to them, part of what makes Cliff Booth such an interesting character is the fact that we don’t know. But for every person who seemed shocked that the topic was even in discussion, there was someone else with a contrasting point of view. Paul Bettany made a good point, stating, “It has to be an accident, otherwise you’d hate him" -- a sentiment shared by Andy Samberg. And Kali Uchis argued, “Brad Pitt would never do something like that.” (To be fair, he does tend to play the good guy.)
As for the actor who brought the potential murderer to life? He says he knows what happened between Cliff and his wife. But that he’ll never, ever tell. (Okay, so maybe Brad Pitt is capable of evil after all.)
So -- did he or didn't he? Was Cliff Booth just a victim of the rumor mill? Or did he reveal his dark side long before that fateful night with the Manson Family? Let us know what you think by taking the poll below.